I am a person who believes in miracles, but if I didn't, I would have to say that cooking these muffins would convince me that they exist.
There is something amazing about turning a bunch of raw ingredients into a thin paste-like substance that once cooked, forms the lightest, fluffiest morsels you have ever tasted, with just a hint of crunch around the edges.
These muffins really are little miracles. If you don't believe me, try making them. The cinnamon adds a great flavor, there is a little kick from the ginger, and the lemon keeps them from feeling too heavy. Plus, lemons are in season right now, so you can feel good about using them at this time of year.
They would make the perfect snack to eat while opening gifts on Christmas morning, or to tide your family over to dinner on Christmas Eve. Or, just any old time you want something delicious, these are a great option!
Lemon Spice Muffins:
adapted from Food 52
makes 12 standard-sized muffins
1 inch unpeeled ginger, grated
3/4 cup +3 Tbs sugar
zest from 1-2 lemons
8 Tbs butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup minus 2 Tbs whole milk
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 baking soda
Preheat your oven to 375°F.
In a small pan, heat the ginger and 1/4 cup sugar over the stove, until the sugar begins to melt. Continually stir while the sugar is melting. Then remove from the heat and let it cool.
Put 3 Tbs of sugar in a small bowl, and add the lemon zest. Mix with your hands, rubbing the sugar and lemon zest together, until the sugar is fragrant. Add the lemon sugar to the hot ginger mixture and stir.
Next, combine the butter, with the 1/2 cup sugar in a stand mixer. Beat until fluffy (30 seconds or so). Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat. While they are mixing, pour 2 Tbs of lemon juice into a 1-cup measuring cup. Fill the remainder of the cup with whole milk, and let it sit for 30 seconds to one minute, until the milk curdles.
Add your milk mixture to the stand mixer. Turn off the mixer, then add the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and mix again until smooth. Add the lemon-ginger mixture form the stove, and beat again until it is well incorporated.
Spoon into a greased muffin tin.
Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Let them cool for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins, and let them cool all the way on a wire rack.
Try not to eat them all! They are best the first day, but will last up to 3 days in a cool, dry place.