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Muffins to make kitchen smell like Christmas

Sue Schafer enjoys involving her grandchildren when she bakes, as they love to help, measure and stir.
Sue Schafer enjoys involving her grandchildren when she bakes, as they love to help, measure and stir.

It’s beginning to “smell” a lot like Christmas.

What does Christmas smell like to you?

Don’t you just love the aroma of Christmas? The scent of fir from the Christmas tree, or perhaps the candle you burn to get that Christmas tree smell. Or, cookies baking in the oven; how about almond extract, or vanilla?

For me, it has to be gingerbread and cardamom. However, not necessarily together. These truly are my two favorite “baking” smells.

I love making gingerbread cookies, and make quite a few of them at Christmas time. 

Even though I love baking gingerbread cookies, I would be willing to make almost anything with gingerbread. I have also made a gingerbread house with my granddaughter, Kyleigh.

This year, just to change things up a bit, I made gingerbread-sour cream muffins. First of all, sour cream? It’s got to be good. Just because it says sour in the name, does not mean you will not love eating it and cooking with it.

Actually, my grandkids loving dipping their French fries in sour cream. Try it; you just might like it, too.

Whenever I bake with ginger, I usually increase the amount of ginger I add. If you love ginger, double the amount.

Cardamom cranberry muffins are just delicious and the cranberry gives this muffin and a sweet and fresh taste. I prefer to use fresh cranberries, but you can also use frozen.

These muffins are made with sour cream, also. As with the gingerbread, I increase the cardamom in these muffins.

I prefer to buy the cardamom seeds and crush them myself. I think it gives a stronger, fresher flavor. 

Mix these muffins by hand so that you do not crush the cranberries. I personally am not a big fan of cranberries, but love them in these muffins.

If you are using muffin cups, fill the cup to the top with the mixture. If you are greasing the muffin tin, 2/3 full is all you will need. Of course the more batter you use the larger the muffins will be.

I love involving my grandchildren in things that I bake. They love to help, measure and stir. They tend to loose interest as things are baking. And they are nowhere to be found when its time to clean up. Typical kids, I guess. 

Kyleigh is 10, Macie and Aymen are 6, and Ashlynn is 5. 

Macie and Ashlynn are absolutely best friends. They would pick each other to play with any chance they get. Kyleigh and Aymen find it annoying that they do not have a best friend cousin. But Macie and Ashlynn are willing to include everyone as long as they do what they want.

I love to bake with my grandkids individually, but sometimes that is not possible. The four of them together really create quite a challenge. It’s a lot of fun though and we always end up having a good time.

Do something special with your grandchildren or children. It is worth it and the memories you create are priceless. 

Have and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

And remember … a good cook always cleans up!

Gingerbread muffins

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 TB minced fresh ginger of 1 tsp. ground ginger

2 tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. ground allspice or ground cinnamon

¼ cup butter or margarine

1/3-cup milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 8-oz. carton sour cream

¼ cup mild-flavored molasses

2 tsps. granulated sugar

2 tsps. Finely chopped crystallized ginger

Grease bottoms of twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups, set aside. In medium bowl, combine flour, fresh or ground ginger, baking powder, allspice or cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In another medium bowl, mix milk, egg, sour cream, brown sugar and molasses. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (should be a little lumpy). Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling each nearly full. In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and crystallized ginger. Sprinkle over the muffin batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups. Serve warm.

Cardamon cranberry muffins

3 ½ cups flour

1 ¾ cups sugar

1-¾ tsps. Baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground cardamom

1 ½ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups sour cream

½ cup melted butter

1 tsp. vanilla

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Add cranberries; stir to coat. In a smaller bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, butter and vanilla, mix well. Add cranberry mixture to sour cream mixture; stir until just moistened. Fill greased or paper lined muffing cups 2/3 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until muffins test done. Remove from pans. Serve warm

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