I originally made these muffins in much the same spirit that I make most meals--desperation. I bake muffins when I am stressed. Fact. There was a time in high school, leading up to the HSC, when I baked between four and six types of muffins a week. Luckily for my parents and for my waist, the HSC does not last forever. In any case, I baked these muffins the day after I was rear-ended while driving 540 in Fayetteville. I hate 540. With an abiding passion. I called the cops, called my parents, called a friend, then drove home and baked muffins with the ingredients I already had lying around. And they turned out pretty wonderfully, I think! The original recipe called for lemon zest and for regular sugar, but I like to make things interesting. And a little healthier. These are not, if you make them with honey, overly sweet muffins. I felt remarkably happy and clean inside after eating two. Most muffins strike a fine balance between much and too much, but these muffins are good, safe, tasty, and wholesome. Enjoy.
Creamy Ginger Muffins
2 to 3 inches of fresh ginger
3/4 cup honey plus
3 TBS sugar
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
8 TBS unsalted butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Butter or grease standard muffin tins. I usually use a can of olive oil spray for my muffins. I have heard that vegetable oils should not be used to grease nonstick cookware, but I'm no expert. I sometimes use Baker's Joy, which works wonderfully.
2. Cut the unpeeled ginger into large chunks. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process until it is finely minced. You should have about 1/4 cup. If you do not have a food processor, you will simply have to make do with chopping your ginger as small as you can. Also, without a food processor, your best option will be to peel the ginger before you chop it. Otherwise, the skin will prove a nuisance when eating.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the ginger and 1/4 cup of the honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is hot, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
4. In a small bowl stir the lemon juice and the 3 TBS sugar, then add to the ginger mixture. Mix well.
5. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
6. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup honey and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the buttermilk and mix until blended. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Mix in the ginger-lemon mixture.
7. Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about three-fourths full. Sprinkle with a touch of raw sugar. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let stand 1 minute, then remove.
This recipe is supposed to make 16 standard muffins, but mine only made 12. Take it or leave it.
Delicious. A smooth, creamily textured muffin with a mild gingery bite. Mmmmm.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Muffins & Quick Breads, by John Phillip Carroll (Time-Life Books, 1993).