Blueberry, lemon poppy seed, banana nut — muffin fans have tasted them all. Not everyone has had the pleasure of biting into a ginger muffin, however. Ginger muffins match a muffin’s sweet, slightly moist interior with a little zing. Some cooks add fresh minced ginger, while others go with the dried stuff, and still others prefer crystallized ginger to add a little, sweet heat.
Fresh ginger gives a lot more of a bang than the dried, powdered version, but cooks don’t always have the patience to peel off that thin, thin skin. A cook with a good food processor is a deity of sorts with all sorts of magical powers. Such a cook bent on making fresh ginger muffins will discover there’s no need to peel off more than the ugliest, most callous-looking lumps on the ginger’s skin. The processor’s steel blade takes care of the rest, mincing them to a thick puree.
This puree wants to be warmed in some gently melting sugar in a skillet to sweeten its sizzling personality. Adding this concoction to batter makes ginger muffins that carry a subtle undertone of gingery flavor that builds in the mouth like music. Cooks who’d rather cut to the chase, however, can use dried ginger, although the results won’t be as stunning.
Most cooks aren’t content with a single way to approach a dish, and bakers are no exception. There are tons of ways to change up basic ginger muffins. Instead of sugar, clover honey, molasses, or maple syrup all give their own sweet twists. It almost goes without saying that a little lemon juice or a drizzle of fresh-squeezed orange juice adds to the fun. A little pumpkin pulp gives ginger muffins a decidedly autumnal flavor.
Bakers who walk on the wild side find all kinds of ways to twist ginger muffins into something magic. Candied or crystallized ginger is the perfect playmate for peanut butter, and these two kids make ginger muffins deliriously yummy. Adding fresh pomegranate seeds to the basic batter is another way to go. Sneaking in some grated carrot or zucchini is a perfectly legal way to get the kids to eat their veggies, while they nibble on dessert.
For that matter, there’s no law that says muffins have to be sweet. The creative cook can try leaving out most of the sweetening and adding some minced and sautéed garlic and onions together with some sage and cheddar cheese to the basic ginger muffin mix. Bon appetite.