Peppered Ginger Spice Muffins

I used to be a fiend for muffins – there were a few years when I probably baked a batch a week.  They were the perfect catch-all snack: healthier than a cookie and sweeter than a sandwich,  they doubled as grab-&-go breakfasts and late night essay-writing fuel.  But muffins have fallen off my radar this past year.  We’ve hardly had them in the apartment at all.

Now that I’m working half-time at home and half-time out of the house, I’ve come back to them.  I want something I can slip into my purse on the way out the door, that I can make distractedly while watching a tv show with Dave, and that will supply me with 12 pre-portioned snacks.  It’s muffins all the way, and this peppered ginger spice recipe makes some of my most favourite.  I love their sweet spiciness, their deep colour, and the quirkiness of the ingredients (coffee, cayenne, and freshly ground ginger?!  Mmm).

Notes: I’ve fallen out of the habit of measuring the fresh ginger, and usually end up with more than the 1/4 cup that the recipe calls for.  That suits me just fine, but if you want a mellower muffin (which Dave prefers, based on the text he sent me about how burny the most recent batch was), skip the peppers and tone down or omit the fresh ginger all together – you’ll still get a complex flavour without them.

Peppered Ginger Spice Muffins

from Food&Wine.com

Ingredients

2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup finely grated peeled ginger
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup hot coffee
icing sugar (optional)

————————————-

1.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and all the dry spices.  Add the fresh ginger and stir until evenly distributed.

2.  In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the eggs, brown sugar, and white sugar together.  After about four minutes, it should be thickened and lightened in colour.  Add the following ingredients, beating well on low after each addition: molasses and oil; 1/2 dry ingredients; 1/2 coffee; 1/2 dry ingredients; 1/2 coffee.

3.  Spoon the batter into a muffin tray that’s been greased or lined with muffin cups.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, and set the tray on a wire rack to cool completely.  If desired, dust the muffins with icing sugar before serving.

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