The Recipe: There's so much to love about these quick and easy muffins. That deep molasses sweetness, just like hot squares of fresh gingerbread. That they're low-fat and low-calorie (thanks to half the butter in typical muffin recipes) yet still keep a moist and delicate crumb. Plus, they're made in a flash with a few pantry ingredients. But most of all, they just taste good. What's NOT to love?
The Conversation: Waking early on Saturdays to make muffins.
BZZZZZZ. The alarm buzzed with insistence until groping fingers located the snooze button. Still half-asleep, my mind began to sketch out a typical busy Saturday. Exercise! I promised. Then stops at the grocery, the shoe man, the car wash. A birthday present for a friend, flowers for a neighbor with cancer.
I checked the weather with just-opened eyes. The sky was unmistakably threatening, the wind unseasonably fierce. Was it February or almost June? Those sounded like blizzard winds!
Muffins! I thought. Postponing the day’s busy-ness, I jumped from bed and headed for the kitchen where I knew the pickings were slim. What about that recipe for gingerbread muffins, a family hand-me-down? Surely those few ingredients were on hand?
Thirty minutes later, warm muffins and hot coffee were on the table. Ah, there’s nothing better than a busy Saturday kicked off by muffins-as-motivation.
Time to table: 30 minutes for mini muffins, 40 for regular muffins
Makes 24 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) salted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place water and butter in a small microwave dish (such as a Pyrex measuring cup). Heat in microwave in ten-second increments until water boils and butter melts.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg well in a mixing bowl. Add sugar and molasses and mix well. Add water and butter mixture and stir well. Add remaining ingredients. Without touching the wet mixture below, lightly stir together the dry ingredients to combine, then stir them into the wet mixture until just combined. (Over-stirring the wet and dry mixtures will create holes in the baked muffins.) Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 10 minutes for mini muffins and 20 minutes for regular muffins. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.
ADDING FRUIT For a recent batch, I stirred finely chopped dried apricots into the batter. Yummy! Currants or raisins would work too. (2009)
MY APOLOGIES Weight Watchers who count points, my apologies. A careful reader, Sabina, questioned the point calculation for this muffin recipe. I re-calculated the points and sure enough, using the system I use now for calculating points versus the one I used back in 2003 when this recipe was first published, the calculations turned out much different. This is reflected in the new Nutrition Information you find above. (2014)
This column was originally published in print in 2003 and published online for the first time in 2009.
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