Gingerbread Muffins / by Anthony Michael Contrino

 Photo by Matt Wagemann

Photo by Matt Wagemann

Gingerbread Muffins // Makes 1 Dozen

Every year I create a recipe to share with friends and family in lieu of a traditional Christmas card. This year, I wanted to incorporate some of my favorite winter flavors.  These muffins, laced with cinnamon, ginger and a touch of molasses, are not overly sweet and are perfect for breakfast on a cool Christmas morning.

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup candied ginger, small dice, optional
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves      
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt  
2 large eggs   
½ cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses1 large egg white
1½ cups confectioners sugar
Sprinkles or dragées, for decorating

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cavity cupcake mold with aluminum liners. Spread the exposed pan and liners with baking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, candied ginger, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Add the sugar, brown sugar and molasses, and whisk to combine.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until all ingredients are combined.  

Scoop or pipe the batter into the prepared liners, filling each ¾ full.  Bake the muffins for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffins.  Carefully transfer to a rack and cool completely. 

To make the royal icing, combine the egg white and sugar, and stir, until a smooth, stiff frosting forms.  It should should hold a peak.  If it is too loose, add some more sugar to reach the desired consistency.  If it is too thick, add a splash of water to reach the desired consistency.  Working fast, spread the icing over the muffins and decorate with sprinkles.