Gingerbread Date Muffins

Another post!  What!

Now that I’m finally getting back into the swing of things, I’m remembering how fast 2+ months are going to fly by, and then I’ll be completely and utterly OUT of the swing of things again.  Please forgive me in advance.  Maybe I’ll find juggling 3 kids and a newborn super easy?  (I can dream, eh?)  I’m pretty sure I’ll be pretty swamped in the first few… six… months or so.  

All you moms out there – I’m so excited to get my body back to normal!  I don’t mind feeling pregnant, but I’m glad it isn’t forever.  Come back to me regular clothes.  Pants with buttons and zippers.  Shirts that my belly stick out of now.  

This belly.  It’s going to burst.  It’s pretty amazing what our bodies are capable of.  Talk about stretchy skin!  Well, I don’t think mine has a whole lot of stretch left, but I’m glad it was stretchy at some point. 

Anyhow, enough baby talk.  We need food.  I’m so happy food is a necessity to living.  Yay, food!  

Coffee is too, right?  

We’ve somehow made it to yet another weekend.  What could be better than that?  Except maybe, if someone made these muffins for you, fresh for brunch one of those mornings?

I have had these as a brain-child for some time, but (as I’ve said before) I had lost my mojo for awhile there.  They finally came to fruition!  And I loved them.  So did the kids.  Think classic gingerbread giving birth to muffin babies with sweet dates studded throughout.  I love gingerbread.  Basically, anything spiced, especially when there’s molasses involved.  Think Molasses Cookies.  And dates!  Wow.  They are nature’s candy.  So, so good.  I have to hide the [huge] bag that I get at Costco from myself (<–out of sight, out of mind), because I eat them like candy.  And yes, they’re fruit, but that sugar content is a bit high, I believe.  If you ever are in need of a great date recipe, make these Oatmeal Date Cookies.  They be so amazingly amazing.  

So!  To the muffins.  Make them for breakfast.  Eat them warm out of the oven.  If there are some leftover for day 2, pop them in the microwave to make those dates oh-so-mushy before you slather them with butter.  Believe me, I did it, and it’s highly recommendable.  

Gingerbread Date Mufffins
Yields 1
Gingerbread muffins - molasses, spices, along with lots of chewy, sweet dates. A great breakfast or snack choice!
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup white sugar
  3. 1/3 cup molasses
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream
  6. 1/2 cup milk
  7. 1 tsp ground ginger
  8. 2 tsp cinnamon
  9. pinch cloves
  10. 2 1/2 cups flour
  11. 1/2 cup oatmeal
  12. 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  13. 1/2 tsp salt
  14. 1 cup dates, chopped (optional)
  15. sugar for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare muffin tins (grease, or use muffin cups).
  2. Cream together butter and sugar. Add molasses and egg. Beat well.
  3. Mix in sour cream, and milk.
  4. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Stir in the dates if you're using (I'd highly recommend!).
  5. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the middles are set.
  6. Enjoy warm, slathered with butter!
Notes
  1. They will keep fresh in an airtight container for 3-4 days. You can also pop them in the freezer to save for later days (like when you might be having a baby and will want a yummy, quick breakfast).
Whisks and Wooden Spoons http://whisksandwoodenspoons.com/
 
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Peanut Butter Cookies

Squares and Cookies | March 15, 2012 | By

Guess what?  This past weekend was really great.  I got some things done.  Hung out a bit.  Y’know.

But it was also….  Well, let’s just say you are about to see how clumsy I am/how a LOT of my days turn out in the end.  I took most of the afternoon on Saturday to make some baby food.  Cael is an eater.  I mean, he eats.  And eats.  And eats….  Get the picture?  (But still no teeth!)  Anyway.  I had to make him some food.  And I was feeling really good about it.  A real domestic thing to do.  Get the picture?  La-ti-da, cooking and blending away.  I made him some date oatmeal, carrots, and corn.  They looked SO pretty – the colours are great.

Nice, right?  Not for long…

And then, I went to put them in the freezer.  If you’ve ever been in our home, you might understand.  For those of you who haven’t, let me explain.  The freezer is like a time bomb.  It ticks, and the trigger is someone who’s in a hurry (ME?!), trying to shove something in the zero space that remains.  It’s like trying to fit a 13th muffin in a 12-cup muffin tin.  Or maybe a 13th AND 14th.    Either way.  This is what happens.  Regularly.

Except normally, things aren’t still runny.  And don’t spill all over the floor.

Sigh.  All my work.  Oh well, I suppose.  Ever had these moments?

Back to the baking…  So, I got another request.  This time – Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies “that stay nice and moist”.  Now I must say, I LOVE the peanut butter/chocolate combo.  But.  When it comes to cookies, they need to be strictly peanut butter.  So I always use peanut butter chips.  Chocolate chips can be substituted easily though.  Definitely.  (Really though,  I guess I could do chocolate chip peanut butter cookies… 😉  )

Anyhow…  I love peanut butter cookies.  But the thing is – I hardly ever get to make them BECAUSE of silly allergy rules in the schools.  Cookies are such a great snack in lunches.  My brothers take cookies to school all the time (SOMEBODY’S gotta eat all those cookies we’re making!), but they can’t take peanut butter cookies.  So.  Solution is to bake them on weekends, or extended breaks.  This week is March break, problem solved.  (Not that I don’t eat a ton of them too, I’m addicted.)  Again, they don’t look perfect.  I don’t use a proportioned scoop (I have that gripe… remember?), but you totally could if you want (I know some people just can’t help it, I understand…).  🙂

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup margarine, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/4 cup flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

Pinch salt

1 bag peanut butter chips (or chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix together the margarine, peanut butter, and sugars.

Add egg and salt, mix.  Mix in flour, and baking soda.  Should look something like this:

Now’s the time to add the peanut butter (chocolate) chips!  I drop these cookies by the spoonful, but they can be rolled into balls too and pressed with a fork if you want.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes (they should be just brown around the edges).

These cookies stay awesomely chewy [and yummy] stored in an airtight container.

Hope you enjoy!  Bon appetit!

How was your weekend?

Nannie’s Cinnamon Rolls

Rolling in cinnamon roll dough that is!  (The biscuit type.)

As much as I wish that it was the money-type-dough….  It’s not.  But this is the next best kind!  But!  Before we get to that…  Baking.  Who likes to do this?  Is there anyone else out there that just loves to bake?  Because I could bake sun-up to sun down if I had the people to bake for and the time to do so…  Just wanted to let you know about that.

Guess what!  Our little boy crawled for the first time yesterday!  It was a very exciting, but bittersweet moment.  Exciting because he’s crawling and growing up.  Bittersweet because he’s growing up SO fast.  I cannot believe how big he’s getting and how much he’s doing.  Have I mentioned that he claps and tries to sing along in church?  (Or that he’s a complete goof ball?)

Don’t you love the hairdo and expression?  🙂  Priceless.

Speaking of church, our church played the movie Courageous over the weekend.  It was a great movie.  I highly recommend it.  It is focusing on what God says of fathers in the Bible.  But it has great advice in it for mothers as well.  We are to bring up our children in a godly way, honouring Him through it all.  It’s a really hard task.  But completely achievable with the help of prayer and the Holy Spirit.  Joshua 25:15 – “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

On to these FAMOUS Cinnamon Rolls.  They are sooo good.  I’ve mentioned my grandmother in a few of my previous posts.  She was a real influence on my baking.  I have been baking as long as I’ve been standing (and probably before).  This recipe is one that she would let me help with right from the get-go.  It was our recipe (well, it’s hers, but it was our special time spent together eating the dough making them).  😉  We are a family that tends not to measure…  I know, I know…  Tsk tsk.  BUT – things just taste better when they aren’t perfect.  (Remember my gripe about perfectly round cookies?)  I love being able to judge how much of something I need to dump in without a measuring cup.  Don’t get me wrong, I still do measure a lot of things (especially for certain recipes when it is critical that certain amounts are exact), but I dump a lot of ingredients in the bowl willy-nillly.  Anyway, my ramble does have a point – we tend not to measure… i.e. – this recipe does not really exist.  I had to make my grandmother sit down and really think about what she puts in her cinnamon rolls, so I could write it down to have and to share.  So, here goes!

Nanny’s Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup margarine, softened

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

Salt

2 1/2 – 3 cups flour

3 1/2 tsp baking powder

Stir together the margarine, eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt.  Once it is combined, add two cups of flour and the baking powder, stir. Add 1/2 cup flour, stir.  If the dough is too sticky to handle, add the rest of the flour.  If it seems okay, then don’t add any more.  Simple as that.

Now, this is one of those recipes that you just have to use a wooden spoon.  Well, I do at least.  My grandmother didn’t introduce me to a mixer until I was 10 or 11, so we used a wooden spoon to make most of the baked goods we made together.  And there are still a few recipes that I just have to use a wooden spoon to mix.  It doesn’t mix as thoroughly as our KitchenAid, but it gives these rolls a ‘homemade’ feel, and I get to feel quite nostalgic.

After you’re done mixing, slap it on a floured surface and roll into a rectangle (the dough should be about 1/2 inch thick, or whatever you prefer really).  Next – spread with margarine.  The more, the better.  Yum.

Then, sprinkle (very generously) brown sugar over the butter.  Don’t forget to spread it out and lick your fingers (and to wash your hands afterwards…).  Then sprinkle cinnamon over the sugar, to your own taste.  If you like raisins, you can throw some of those on top – SO good.  After all that, you can roll these puppies up.  From the long end.  They should look somewhat like this when they’re rolled:

I cut them into 12 rolls normally, but you can make them thicker/thinner if you want to.  Then put them on a greased cookie sheet, or in a greased 8X8 pan (depending on how you want them to turn out).

Oh!  Remember to cut the ends off, just a little slice off of either end to make them look better (and so that you have some extra dough to sample).  Nanny would save the ends for us every time she made them.  (And if I got through the door first, I’d quickly scarf down both ends so I didn’t have to share with my brother… Very sisterly of me eh?)

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until dough is set and slightly brown.

They looked so good.  I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of them.  Last one, I promise.  Best one too.

Nannie's Cinnamon Rolls

Wow.  One of my most favourite foods (I think I have a lot of those….)

And just a side note – Congratulations to my best friend Ivy, who just got engaged this weekend!

What is your favourite baked good?  Have any family traditions around baking?