Friday, October 20, 2006

Gingerbread Blueberry Muffins

I must say that I felt a bit bad seeing that my front post was not about baking when this blog got a mention in the Guardian the other day, but to make up for that, I promise that this is a really good recipe.
I love gingerbread in just about any form it comes in, from cookies to cakes to pancakes, and usually look forward to cooler weather as a sort of permission to bake anything spicy. Of course, the temperature shot back up into the 80s today, so it wasn't exactly cold outside - but let's overlook that for now, shall we?
The original recipe for this gingerbread was in an old issue of Cooking Light I happened to flip through the other day. It had all of my favorite ingredients - buttermilk, molasses, blueberries - and was somewhat low in fat, too. I altered the original recipe by turning a cake into muffins and using less egg, since with light baked goods I feel that an extra egg can give the finished product and unpleasantly eggy taste. There only odd thing about the recipe is that it makes an unusual amount of batter. You could make 16 medium-sized muffins with it, or you could do what I did for the muffin pictured above and make 12 large muffins, filling the tins nearly to the top and discarding the small amount of leftover batter. The choice is yours. Both baking times are noted below.
The batter comes together in a flash and the muffins a nice contrast between spicier winter flavors and summer berries. The combination creates a very light, moist muffin that is dangerously addictive, especially if you have some cream cheese to spread on it and a nice hot cup of coffee to wash it down.

Gingerbread Blueberry Muffins
(adapted from a Cooking Light recipe)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk (skim is fine)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with paper liners (12 or 16, see times below).
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cloves and allspice.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and egg whites until creamy. Beat in molasses, buttermilk, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Pour wet ingredents into dry ingredients and whisk until just smooth, with no flour remaining. Stir in blueberries and divide into 12 or 16 muffin cups (if using 16, fill only 3/4 full).
If making 12 large muffins, bake for 17-21 minutes.
If making 16 medium muffins, bake for 15-19 minutes.
In either case, make sure a tester comes out clean before removing them from the oven.
Cool completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container if not eating on the first day.
Makes 12 or 16 muffins.