Sticky Orange Gingerbread Muffins

December really is the time to embrace ALL things spiced. Every. Damn. Thing.

Spiced mulled wine, spiced biscuits, spiced chocolates, spiced cakes, spiced meats, hell my mum even bought Winter Spice bleach this week!

 

I won’t lie, I absolutely adore the spice fetish that everyone develops at Christmas time. I use cinnamon and ginger generously all year round, but there’s just something about the smell of it filling your house that just screams Christmas in the delightedly impatient tone of a young child. That’s why these muffins just HAVE to be mentioned before the new year rolls in, they deserve it.

These spiced, sticky orange gingerbread muffins were inspired by a fellow blogger over at Fork Knife Swoon, I saw the recipe and just had to whip up my own version. My version involves a more orange flavour, darker treacle flavour, a teeny bit less sugar, and I’ve converted everything into British ingredients and weights. How nice am I, eh?

Muffins (of the sweet variety) are always either painfully dry and healthy-tasting, or they’re so massive and cloyingly sweet that you feel you should have just bought a cake or chocolate bar instead. These little gems find themselves in a perfect balance of both. A perfect size for snacking, easily customisable with wholemeal flour or coconut oil for the irritatingly health conscious, but with the perfect amount of spiced sweetness to make these sticky orange gingerbread muffins into the perfect Christmas time snack. Once you get bored of the mince pies and Lindor truffles of course.

I also feel like these muffins bring all the glorious dark flavour of gingerbread biscuits, without the potential to shatter your teeth, or the pressure to ice them beautifully. Instead, they provide rich orange and spice flavour, and an incredibly moist and light texture, giving you that perfect balance of fluffiness and satisfying mouth-stickiness. I’m starting to feel like I’ve already sold these to you? If not, hit me up and I can provide you with many more delicious-muffin-related adjectives.

The best part of all? These muffins only require one bowl to make so you get minimal dish-washing for maximum sweet, spicy satisfaction. Thank me later. Even my muffin-sceptical mother adores these.

To make these little beauties, you’ll first need to preheat your oven – 180 degrees for conventional ovens or 160 degrees for fan ovens – and pop 12 muffin cases (festive or otherwise) into a 12-hole muffin/cupcake baking tin. I used a mixture of red and green Christmas muffin cases, because I’m as naff as they come.

In a large bowl, mash up a ripe banana until mushy and fairly lump-free. It’s pretty hard to get it totally smooth, so don’t worry about that too much. If you don’t have any bananas lying around, you can use natural yoghurt, apple sauce, cranberry sauce or even pumpkin puree instead!

Crack in one large egg and stir/mash it all up until fairly smooth again.

Grate in the zest of 1-2 oranges, depending on how orange-y you’d like these muffins to be, followed by some cinnamon, ginger, spice and salt. Grab a whisk and mix it all up.

Add some oil, treacle and milk and whisk well until smooth and combined.

Add in some dark brown sugar and mix again, breaking up any stiff lumps in the sugar as you go. Again, don’t worry if there are some little lumps of sugar left, they bake into a lovely soft bite of dark stickiness if you find any in your muffin!

Finally add flour and use a spoon or spatula to gently stir it in until just incorporated.

Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to fill the 12 muffin cases evenly, each should be half or two-thirds full, and smell as good as a Christmas Yankee Candle.

Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until firm, a cocktail stick inserted in the centre of a muffin should come out clean once they are baked. Don’t worry if it takes an extra few minutes, every oven is different! Mine took exactly 25.

Once baked, allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack, or in the chilly December breeze of a windowsill.

If you’d like to drizzle or glaze your muffins with icing like I did, here’s what to do.

Mix together icing sugar, a little water and vanilla extract until you achieve a fairly thick white icing. Feel free to add more sugar or liquid to reach your desired consistency. Easiest icing ever.

If you would like to glaze the muffins, dip the top of each one in the icing until coated, this works best when they’re still a little warm. This should give them a nice shiny white glaze.

If you would like to drizzle the icing instead, either use a spoon, knife or a filled piping bag to drizzle and splatter the icing all over the tops of the muffins.

If you’re using cranberries, candied peel or anything else for decoration, sprinkle them over once the icing is on to help them stick. I chose to keep some plain, but I decorated the green-cased muffins with dried cranberries for a nice colour contrast. I sound old.

You can leave the icing to set a little or just bite straight in!

I really really really hope you get a chance to make these sticky orange gingerbread muffins, or at least convince someone else to make them for you! They are the ultimate sticky spiced snack for Christmas morning or for any time this festive season. I know for a fact I’ll be making these again for our house and for my workmates, go on, you should too!

 

Sticky Orange Gingerbread Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Sticky Orange Gingerbread Muffins

Sticky orange gingerbread muffins: fluffy little treats packed full of warming Christmas spices, orange zest and dark gingerbread flavour that you'll want to eat all day!

Ingredients

    For the muffins:
  • 1 ripe banana (you can substitute natural yoghurt, cranberry sauce or pumpkin puree here if you like)
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of 1-2 oranges (depending on how orange-y you want them to be!)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 120ml vegetable, olive or melted coconut oil
  • 120g black treacle
  • 75ml milk or orange juice
  • 120g soft dark brown sugar
  • 300g self-raising flour (wholemeal or white)
    For the drizzle or glaze (optional):
  • 150 icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp water, milk or orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cranberries or candied peel to decorate

Instructions

    For the muffins:
  1. Preheat your oven – 180 degrees for conventional ovens or 160 degrees for fan ovens – and pop 12 muffin cases (festive or otherwise) into a 12-hole muffin/cupcake baking tin.
  2. In a large bowl, mash your banana until mushy and fairly lump-free.
  3. Add the egg and stir/mash until fairly smooth.
  4. Grate in the orange zest followed by the cinnamon, ginger, spice and salt, and use a whisk to mix in.
  5. Add the vegetable oil, treacle and milk and whisk well until smooth and combined.
  6. Add the sugar and mix again, breaking up any stiff lumps in the sugar as you go.
  7. Finally add the flour and use a spoon or spatula to gently stir it in until just incorporated.
  8. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to fill the 12 muffin cases evenly, each should be half or two-thirds full.
  9. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until firm, a cocktail stick inserted in the centre of a muffin should come out clean once they are baked. Don’t worry if it takes an extra few minutes, every oven is different!
  10. Once baked, allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack, or in the chilly December breeze of a windowsill.
    For the drizzle or glaze (optional):
  1. Mix together the sugar, water and vanilla extract until you achieve a fairly thick white icing. Feel free to add more sugar or liquid to reach your desired consistency.
  2. If you would like to glaze the muffins, dip the top of each one in the icing until coated, this works best when they’re still a little warm. This should give them a nice shiny white glaze.
  3. If you would like to drizzle the icing instead, either use a spoon, knife or a filled piping bag to drizzle and splatter the icing all over the tops of the muffins.
  4. If you’re using cranberries, candied peel or anything else for decoration, sprinkle them over once the icing is on to help them stick.
  5. You can leave the icing to set a little or just bite straight in.
  6. Enjoy!

*Feel free to add nuts, chocolate chips or dried fruit to the mixture!

http://maverickbaking.com/sticky-orange-gingerbread-muffins/

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