I’ve been so desperate to mark the start of October with a seasonal bake and then I saw this post by Gingerbread Jenn and I absolutely had to make them the very next day. The strangest thing was a couple of days before I’d been in a supermarket when I saw some ginger preserve. I’m a really big ginger fan but given my propensity to pour my pay cheque into supermarkets and my over flowing kitchen cupboards, I bravely walked on by. One thing life has taught me, and the thing I usually tell my easily persuadable self, is that you’ll always regret the things you didn’t buy. I think a lot of people have this motto when it comes to shoes. For me it is, seemingly, preserves. This makes much more sense if I explain that this recipe calls for ginger preserve.
What I liked most about this recipe, once I’d got over how gorgeous the muffins looked and how much I loved the ingredients, is that they were a little bit guilt free, there is no refined sugar or butter in the muffins (I put some in the cream cheese frosting though). This did mean though that they stuck pretty solidly to their paper cases, possibly not helped by making them gluten free. If I make these again (highly likely) I think I’d just grease and flour my muffin tin really well and not bother with the paper cases. This may be a huge error and I will leave the choice up to you. They were still edible (and delicious) but you had to fight to get them out their cases.
What I loved about this recipe was that I could make it with a wooden spoon, hand whisk and a bowl. It was simple back to basics baking and I needed that. Nothing makes me feel better and relax like a traditional, elbow grease baking session. Feel free to use an electric mixer or hand held electric whisk if you’d like, especially for the frosting.
Ingredients: (Makes 12 large muffins)
- 1 cup of sultanas
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tea bag (I used a cardamom tea bag but any spiced/flavoured/plain tea bag will do)
- 3 cups of flour, I used gluten free, the original recipe favours whole wheat but I’d recommend spelt flour if you can tolerate it, I think it’d add great flavour to these
- 0.25 tsp of xantham gum, if using gluten free flour
- 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 0.5 tsp of nutmeg
- 0.25-0.5 tsp of ground ginger, up to you
- 0.5 tsp of salt
- 3.5 tsp of baking powder
- 1/8 (0.125) tsp of baking soda
- 1 cup of milk (any milk – dairy, almond, soya)
- 0.25 cup of honey
- A large 0.25 cup of yogurt ( I used plain)
- 0.25 cup of unsweetened apple sauce (2 peeled and diced apples with 2 tbsp of water in a microwaveable jug, covered in cling film on full power for 5 minutes and then mashed – if you want to make your own)
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large carrots, grated
- 0.25 cup of ginger preserve
To decorate: (optional)
- 150 g of unsalted butter
- 45 g of caster sugar
- 300 g of full fat cream cheese
- Ground cinnamon, to sprinkle
- Dried fruit and seeds/nuts to top, I chose cranberries, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
- Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease/line (see above) a muffin tin (for 12).
- Place the sultanas in a small bowl with the tea bag and cinnamon stick. Fill with boiling water and leave to soak until ready for them.
- Make the apple sauce, if making from scratch.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices to a bowl and then add the grated carrot.
- In a jug (use the apple sauce jug if you’ve made it) whisk together the applesauce, milk and honey. Followed by the yogurt and eggs.
- Pour the liquid into the mixing bowl containing the flour and carrots. Drain the sultanas and add these to the bowl. Mix until combined but don’t over mix.
- Gingerbread Jenn offers a great tip of getting sky-high muffins, as she puts it: Fill the muffin tray dips/cases right to the very top. Then put them in a hot (220°C) over for 5 minutes. Then lower the heat to 190° for a further 15-20 minutes. Go on, you heard the lady!
- Once cooked (when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean), remove from the oven and leave in the tray for 5 minutes. If in cases, remove the muffins and place them on a cooling rack. If you’ve made them directly in the tin itself then wait a further 5 minutes before taking them out the tin and placing them on a cooling rack.
- Leave the muffins to cool completely, or serve warm if you’d like – if you aren’t decorating them.
- Make the cream cheese frosting by creaming together the butter and sugar and then mixing in the cream cheese.
- Warm up your ginger preserve.
- Cut a downward pointing cone out of the top of the muffins. Set these aside but don’t throw them away!
- Place a tsp of so of the warm ginger preserve into the centre of each muffin and then place the muffin cone/tops back into the muffins.
- Ice your muffins with frosting, sprinkle with cinnamon and decorate with your toppings.