This past week I’ve baked all sorts of delicious goodies (and far too many gingerbread cookies ended up in my belly!). As soon as Thanksgiving was over, I had this uncontrollable desire to decorate my house for Christmas. I've always been the girl complaining about stores and people taking out the Xmas stuff too early... but this year we've cut our own Xmas tree (what a fun activity by the way!) before the end of November! Really?!! I Guess this time of the year makes me even more nostalgic of my family and friends and I needed to fill this emptiness with a warm and charming house.
One thing that makes me happy these days (thank god my kids aren't complaining about it...yet!) is to listen at instrumental christmas music all day long while baking Holiday treats. I love when the house is filled with warming spices aromas, the sort that reminds me of my hometown around the Holidays. The first thing I think about when I miss my mom is her famous chai tea (I really need to share this great recipe with you guys!) and that strong and welcoming smell of cinnamon and ginger spreading around her snowy mountain house. As a kid, I spent a few Holidays in Indian ashrams, meditating, singing, eating indian food and of course, drinking chai tea. Childhood memories are the strongest and even today, indian food and flavors remain my favorite of all time. I know... Gingerbread muffins aren't indian at all, but they use similar spices...
Nowadays, I often hear my own my son say "I was probably an indian in another life. All I want to eat is indian food". Guess the apple didn't fall too far from the tree... Or maybe it's just because I add spices everywhere. I even added a pinch of turmeric or cumin powder in my kids baby food as soon as they started to eat. I find very interesting to know that recent studies has shown that babies really start to taste, discover and recognize food in the womb! That sounds pretty amazing to me. Research has shown that the foods you eat during pregnancy will influence the foods that your child will like for years to come. Anyway, the more my recipes include strong spices, the more my kids love them :)
And now back to these wonderful gingerbread muffins. The deep color and robust flavor in this recipe comes from the dark blackstrap molasses. I love to use this sweetener whenever I can because of the extra nutritious kick that blackstrap molasses provides. I use it mainly on crepes, but during the Holiday season, I pack a few extra bottles in my pantry for my gingersnap cookies, gingerbread man cookies, Xmas granola (cranberry, pistachio, goji & gingerbread spices granola) or muffins. Be sure to buy the blackstrap molasses since it's high in vitamin B and essential minerals (iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese). Blackstrap molasses is significantly more bitter than "regular" molasses. For that reason, I also use pure maple syrup in this recipe to balance the taste so the end result is pleasant enough.
See that gold sparkling muffin top ? I sprinkled organic turbinado sugar on top of the muffins. This sugar is a golden-colored raw cane sugar with large sparkling crystals that gives a nice crunchiness to cake, cookies or muffins. Turbinado sugar is made by crushing the freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, rich in vitamins and minerals. The cane juice is then evaporated and transformed in large crystals. Another interesting thing to know is that no chemicals, bone char, or animal by-products are used to make this sugar. In this recipe, I find that it really adds a special crunchy touch to these puffy muffins tops!
If you can't find turbinado raw sugar, here's a few other topping ideas :
- You can sprinkle coconut sugar or organic can sugar instead.
- If I have candied ginger on hand I often add a few pieces on top of each muffin.
- And... I'm not going to tell anyone if you want to add a drizzle of royal icing to make them look and taste like real gingerbread man cookies ;)
These vegan muffins are perfect for breakfast of snack time (they share the top spot with my banana and chocolat muffins on Noah's favorite muffin list! Nothing less!).
But they also make a great holiday treat and would look superb on your Holiday brunch table!
Adapted from Pinch of Yum
Yield : 12 muffins
Ingredients for the muffins :
- 3 1/2 cups spelt flour (or whole wheat or a mix of whole wheat and unbleached white flour)
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
- ½ cup coconut oil (or melted butter or vegan butter)
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 mashed banana
- ½ cup real maple syrup
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (or 1 large organic egg)
- 1/4 cup (or more if needed) Turbinado sugar for topping
- Pre-heat oven at 375°F. Grease your muffin pan or place paper baking cup in each muffin cup.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, ginger, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In large bowl, beat (by hand or with a hand mixer) the coconut oil, blackstrap molasses, mashed banana, maple syrup, almond milk, apple cider vinegar spoon and ground flax seeds.
- Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of turbinado sugar on top of each muffin.
- Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.