Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

G and I are in Cleveland, playing Christmas concerts and hanging out with many old friends. It's certainly the most wonderful time of the year!

I have two things to tell you.

One : for those of us about to travel for holiday vacations, we may need to start thinking ahead for the various flights and roadtrips coming up! For us, it helps to travel with a little bit of food that we won't need to buy in transit. Muffins are great for this purpose as I am sure you all know! Breakfast or snacks, it's all good, people!

Two : this plate was a birthday gift from my sweet friend Rachel. I display it at all times because I can't get enough of the owl, his pipe or the saying on it that is Monsieur Hibou fume sa pipe. (Mr. Owl smokes his pipe. HOW CUTE?!?!) Cute. I die.

That's all, my friends. Have a lovely weekend!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 16-20

1.5 c flour
1/2 c cake flour
2 and 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 c loosely packd brown sugar
1/4 c vegetable oil
3/4 c milk
1/2 c sour cream
1 can pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c choc chips

- Preheat oven to 400 and grease or line your cupcake tins. Sift the flours and spices. Mix together brown sugar and oil until incorporated well. Combine sugar and oil with the remaining ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Add flour mixture to incorporate and fold in chocolate chips. Pour into tins and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Sauce

Here's the deal. If you're going to like Christmas, you need to like the whole shabang, right? I'm not talking commercialism and the modern practice that has turned into Christmas, but you know, the old traditions and magic of Father Christmas, snowy evenings, fires, simple decorations... and don't forget baby Jesus in the manger!

But I have to tell you... even though one of our greatest traditions is huge gingerbread cookies that we decorate as a family, hang in the window and then eat later - I really only ever liked mine when it was piled with icing.

Gingerbread is crunchy.


I like chewy cookies.

And that is why I love this cake. All of the wonderful flavors of gingerbread but in a gooey cake topped with a lemony sauce. LOVE. it.

While I try to take my mind off of the fact that while taking pictures of this cake out on my balcony in my workout clothes (I mean, daylight is the best, right?) I was whistled at very loudly by a man across the complex (cue angry face here) ... I am looking up the history of this little piece of baking heaven. My mom says the recipe is officially titled Fort Atkinson's Gingerbread but I can't find out why? Does anyone know? I love finding out the history of recipes!

Enough jabber. Go make this cake. Perfect to follow Christmas dinner ... or just because!

Gingerbread Cake

1 stick of butter, melted (I like salted!)
1 tbs sugar
1 egg
1 c dark molasses
1 c boiling water
2 and 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

- Grease and flour a 9 in round cake pan. Mix first three ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Set aside and whisk the molasses and boiling water to combine. Sift the remaining ingredients and combine all until incorporated.
- Bake at 325 for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve the cake warm with warm lemon sauce. I heat individual slices up in the oven for a few minutes if made ahead.

Lemon Sauce

1 stick of butter, melted
1 c sugar
1/4 c water
1 egg, beaten
Juice and zest of one lemon

- Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan well, then whisking constantly, bring to a boil and shut the heat off. Serve!