Gingerbread isn’t just for dessert. It’s also a great way to start off the day – after all molasses is full of healthy iron, calcium, and B vitamins – and makes a filling after-school snack.
We native New Englanders love cooking with molasses. We have our Boston Baked Beans, Anadama Bread, Brown Bread, Indian Pudding, Joe-Froggers, and gingerbread. When I moved west I brought molasses cuisine with me. Complaining that I could no longer buy molasses by the gallon I was asked with genuine confusion, “what could you possibly do with a whole gallon of molasses!” Obviously someone who had never indulged in this recipe.
Sadly, the grand-children don’t share my love of all things molasses, so I don’t make these muffins very often anymore. Bud a few weeks ago I made a batch of Meyer Lemon Marmalade. It was so good I found myself baking just to have something to spread it on. It was either that or eat it straight from the jar. Then I remembered that ginger and lemon are like bosom buddies; each accentuating the best of the other.
Years ago I adapted this recipe from one found in an old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Newer editions don’t include it. The ingredients go together quickly and the muffins are light and tasty.
• 1/4 cup butter, softened
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 3/4 tsp baking soda
• Dash salt
• 1/2 tsp ground ginger
• 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp ground mace
• 1/4 tsp ground cloves
• 1/2 cup hot, not boiling, water
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grease muffin tins.
3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar.
4. Beat in egg and then molasses.
5. In a separate bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
6. Stir into the molasses mixture.
7. Slowly add the hot water, beating only until smooth and there are no lumps.
8. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes in pan.
10. Remove from pan and enjoy topped with butter and homemade jam.
Yield 12 muffins.
Renee Pottle is an author, Family and Consumer Scientist, and Master Food Preserver. She writes about canning, baking, and real food at Seed to Pantry. Read all of Renee's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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