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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gingerbread Cupcakes

I really didn't think I was going to do anything special for Thanksgiving. For the past several days my back has been acting up again, meaning I haven't felt like doing much at all. But, I decided I should probably make some attempt.

Yesterday, while Michael was working, I hit the stores and did some shopping for a Thanksgiving meal. I decided to make a Cranberry-Fig stuffing and had originally planned to do a Turkey Roulade. Unfortunately, the only Turkey breasts I could find were huge. I really didn't want to waste so much so decided to go with chicken breast instead. That was paired with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Michael's favorite vegetable, asparagus.

Those recipes will be coming up later, but for dessert I chose a Gingerbread Cupcake featuring a butter cream-cream cheese frosting. These are a little different from my usual gingerbread since they contain diced crystallized ginger and sour cream.

They're an excellent upscale gingerbread treat. If you like you can add rum soaked raisins for an even more decadent flavor. I opted out of the raisins since I'm not a huge raisin fan. However, to use them in this recipe you'll just need to take a 1/2 cup of golden raisins and soak them in 1/4 cup dark rum in a small sauce pan. Heat covered until rum boils then set aside and allow to cool. You'll add them to the batter when you do the crystallized ginger.

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup minced dried crystallized ginger (not in syrup), diced very small

For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 pound confectioners' sugar

For the decoration:
6 pieces dried crystallized ginger (not in syrup), sliced in half

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

Place the butter and molasses in another small pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cool for 5 minutes, then mix in the sour cream and orange zest.

Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together into a small bowl. Mix with your hand until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix only until smooth. Add the crystallized ginger to the mixture with a spatula.

Divide the batter among the muffin pan. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, butter, orange zest and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and garnish with a slice of crystallized ginger.

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