Gingerbread “cupcake” with Limoneira lemon sauce

One of my favorite desserts as a child was my grandmother’s gingerbread, which she topped with lemon sauce. The smell of this gingerbread hits me with straight nostalgia. It brings back many happy childhood memories of enjoying comforting food in cool weather and anticipating the holiday season.

Gingerbread by Amelie

The spices in the recipe are typical of gingerbread—ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. If you have Steen’s Sugar Cane Syrup from Louisiana (I can’t eat pancakes without it), that’s what you use. Molasses will do in a pinch.

I recently learned that the recipe for the gingerbread itself had been passed to my grandmother by a long ago neighbor of hers who had gotten it from her mother. So, really, it is a woman named Mattie Lou’s gingerbread (or perhaps her grandmother’s? You never know!). To me, however, it will always be my grandmother Glo’s gingerbread.

Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce
I love these flavors. The gingerbread spices contrasted with the tart lemon sauce make this a perfect dessert for me.

Glo recommends doubling the lemon sauce recipe. And you should always listen to my grandmother! I used bright, juicy Limoneira lemons for this batch. 

You can prepare the dough ahead of time. This batter will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

I hope this gingerbread helps your family make wonderful memories, too!

Thank you to Limoneira, a sustainable citrus grower in California, for the lemons! Visit www.limoneiralifestyles.com for lemons and oranges, natural skin care products, and more.

Recipe: Glo’s Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce

Makes 9x13 pan or 24 muffins

2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses or sugar cane syrup
3 eggs
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
LEMON SAUCE:
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar, then add the syrup. Beat in 1 egg at a time.

Put baking soda in buttermilk and add to mixture. Add dry seasonings into the flour and sift in slowly.

Pour into a 9x13 pan or muffin tins and bake about 30 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Make lemon sauce by combining sugar, cornstarch and water over low flame, stirring constantly. When thick, remove and stir in remaining ingredients.

Serve lemon sauce over gingerbread, warm.

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Breakfast break for this cupcake girl!

Apple-Bread-Breakfast

I had apples galore from my fruit share at the CSA. This season is all apples all the time. I love them, but I can’t eat them all before they go bad! To use some of them up, I made apple bread.

Apple_Bread_MixingOne reason that I bake cupcakes is that they are, in my opinion, easier to bake than regular cakes or bread. They are more forgiving, at least. I’m used to baking teeny amounts for short periods of time. An hour’s recommended baking time threw me, but I stuck to it.

It looked great…

Apple_Bread_Pan

…until I noticed the sides looked a little dark. When I depanned it, the bottom stuck. I got it out and pieced things back together, but the sides and bottom were certainly near-burnt. Darn! Next time, I will try lining the pan with parchment paper and maybe putting the loaf pan in another water-filled pan.

I’ve seen suggestions to try cooking at a lower temperature for a longer time, though more than an hour seems extreme. The inside was perfect, so I don’t think it was the cooking time. Thoughts?

I suppose I could experiment further, but this isn’t “Breakfast Breads by Amélie!” The apple bread was tasty enough for me and my husband to enjoy for several breakfasts.

What else to do with apples? I made some tasty pear-apple sauce (great with plain yogurt). I also suggest prepping and freezing apple pie filling. Read my post about that at farm2me, Apples, Apples Everywhere.

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Fresh Pumpkin Muffins

Muffins aren’t quite as cute as cupcakes, but don’t call them ugly cupcakes. While they have a similar appearance, cupcakes and muffins are different delights.

Muffins are more bread than cake. They are denser and often drier than cupcakes, and they are usually not as sweet.  (The line blurs a bit when you get into sweeter muffins like chocolate muffins which are, let’s face it, really closer to cupcakes without icing.) Baking methods differ, resulting in unique textures. Cupcakes usually call for butter, creamed with sugar, and a mixer is recommended to achieve a smooth batter. Oil is often used in muffins, and the batter can be mixed by hand, smoothness not required or really desired.

Pumpkin Muffin Ingredients

I roasted a small sugar pumpkin for 90 minutes at 350 degrees, let it cool a little bit, scooped it out, and puréed it. I stuck it in the refrigerator overnight, and two cups went into my muffins the next day. You could used canned pumpkin, but get plain (real) pumpkin, not pie filling or spiced pumpkin.

Recipe: Pumpkin Muffins

Makes 18 small muffins or 12 large muffins

3 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup olive oil
3 eggs
2 cups pumpkin purée

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins or use paper liners.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat together the olive oil and eggs, then the pumpkin purée. Stir this mixture into flour mixture until just combined.

Scoop batter into muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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