"It's the most wonderful tiiiiiiiiiime of the year!"
I don't care what religion or non-religion or whatever you are, what holidays you celebrate or don't celebrate, this time of year feels special. Sure, there is a lot of commercialization, fixation on "stuff", and some people are still cranky and negative, but I would say in general there is a feeling toward the end of the year of excitement, love, and service. Wouldn't you? There are always plenty of negative things to find. I would rather dwell on the happy things. Like how much my boys enjoyed picking out toys for the toy drive, or how suddenly they're sharing SO much more. How I feel when I'm planning the gifts I'm giving, not getting. Especially gifts that involve yummy treats! I hope you're feeling all the joy of the holiday season, and finding lots of ways to share it, too! :)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1/3 cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
coarse sparkling sugar for topping
Preheat oven to 350º. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Cream softened butter and sugar together till smooth and fluffy. Add the egg, beat till smooth. Add vanilla, applesauce, and molasses, and mix till just combined. Add a third of the flour, mix till just combined. Add half of the buttermilk, mix until just combined. Repeat with the last two thirds of the flour and half of the buttermilk, alternating and mixing gently between each. Do not overmix!!
Line or grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Divide batter between cups and top generously with sparkling sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in one of the muffins comes out clean.