Every Christmas morning our family opens a few presents, then eats these gingerbread muffins hot out of the oven. It's a non-negotiable family tradition as anticipated as stockings on the mantle. The original recipe, which produced a subtle, mildly gingered, cake-like muffin, came from my grandmother. Through the years, we've pumped up the flavor by adding lots more ginger, doubling the other spices and substituting butter for shortening. Served warm, with maybe just a pat of butter on top, these muffins almost melt in your mouth. —Kees To The Kitchen
1 1/4 cups
butter (or 1 cup butter, plus 1/4 cup shortening for a crunchier muffin top)
grated fresh ginger
crystallized ginger chunks, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
In a large bowl, cream butter (and shortening, if applicable) and sugar with mixer for several minutes until light and fluffy.
Add eggs to mixing bowl and combine.
In a small bowl, add soda to molasses, stirring well, then stir in grated fresh ginger. Add to sugar/molasses and mix.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, dried ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Alternately with the buttermilk (beginning and ending with the milk), add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the molasses/sugar. Mix just until combined, then stir in crystallized ginger.
At this point the dough can be covered and kept in the fridge for several days. If so, bring the dough to room temperature before baking.
When ready to bake, spoon into well-greased muffin cups. Optionally sprinkle the tops with a little sugar, then bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.