Would somebody mind telling me why Marion Cunningham didn't make Gourmet's list of 50 Women Game Changers? Several women on that list quote her, cook from her books and post her recipes frequently. Hello out there?
Although I have three of Cunningham's cookbooks, her Breakfast Book is the most thumbed-through. I've got so many post-its stuck in the book it almost looks like I'm working my way through Julie/Julia style. Anyway, I'd marked her fresh ginger muffins ages ago as something to try. I've seen them posted here and there to rave reviews and I finally got around to making them.
I know, they don't look like anything special, do they? Boring even. Au contraire! The flavors sing loud and clear when you bite into one. In fact, the entire house was filled with the most divine fragrance while they were baking. Wouldn't it be marvelous if you could click and sniff these photos like those old scratch and sniff bits in magazines? And isn't it interesting that Ms. Cunningham used unpeeled fresh ginger? I've just got to say it: I think these may be some of the best muffins I've ever tasted.
So run, do not walk, to the store to buy some fresh ginger and lemons and get these made. Not kidding, people. And eat them warm. Trust me on this one.
Fresh Ginger Muffins
From The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
A 2 ounce piece unpeeled fresh gingerroot, scrubbed clean
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest (from two lemons) with some white pith
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), room temperature ( I used salted butter)
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350. Grease the muffin tin. This recipe made 12 regular sized muffins.
Cut the unpeeled ginger into large chunks and place in a food processor. Process until it is in fine pieces. You should have around 1/4 cup. (Better more than too little.) Place the ginger and 1/4 cup sugar in a small pan over medium heat and stir until sugar is melted. It doesn't take long, so don't leave the stove. Remove and allow to cool.
Put the lemon zest and 3 tablespoons sugar in a processor and process until it is finely grated. (I didn't do this step because I used a microplane for the lemon zest and it was finely grated already, so I just added the sugar.) Mix in with the cooled ginger.
Beat the butter and add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add the buttermilk and mix until well blended. Add the flour, salt and baking soda. Beat until smooth. Fold in the ginger mixture by hand.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, fill them 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.