Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Egg Nog Icing

Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Egg Nog IcingSo I know the holidays are over, but come on, there is still plenty of time for gingerbread. This year I started a new Christmas morning tradition with my parents by baking my favorite gingerbread recipe. Not overly crunchy decorated cookies, not a house, but a warm, spicy, moist, real old fashioned gingerbread. This is a recipe I love to make at the very beginning of a party. As it bakes it fills your house with the most incredible aroma – warm, inviting, unmistakable. It wafts down the hallways and turns heads. My favorite thing is when people enter my hallway in my building and immediately ask (in reference to the aroma), “is that you?” Oh yes, that is me. As long as you’re talking about the gingerbread and not the poorly ventilated trash chute…

This recipe that I speak so highly about is actually not my own, but one I came upon some years ago on a quest for really good gingerbread. Amongst all the recipes I found, it was one from Emeril Lagasse that I decided to try and I certainly picked a winner. What makes it special is the use of Guiness – a whole cup. What more needs to be said? I also love that it calls for Turbinado Sugar (aka raw sugar – the big brown crystals). The combination gives it such a warm and earthy depth. I promise you’ll love it.

Now you’ll notice that Emeril gives instructions for a spiced creme anglaise to serve with the bread. The starving artist says eff that – isn’t it enough that I’m baking a cake? Truth be told, it *does* need something to put on top of it as the cake itself is not that sweet (another reason it’s so fantastic). I came up with a very easy and festive alternative: egg nog icing. Need I say more?

Gingerbread Recipe

Egg Nog Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Egg Nog
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch grated nutmeg
2 tsp Brandy (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together. Done. I like the icing to be a little loose for this recipe – if you want it thicker, reduce the amount of egg no.

Magic Muffins

Ok, they’re not really magic, they’re just blueberry. But the way people scarf them down, you’d think they were magic. When I lived in NYC back in 2005-9 I had an office job at a fantastic music publishing company. Usually once per week I would bake these muffins and share them with my coworkers. It’s amazing how fresh baked goods really brighten someone’s day, particularly in an office setting. I hadn’t made this recipe in almost two years, mostly because when it comes to self control, I have zero, and having an entire batch of muffins laying around is never a good idea for me… in fact it can get downright ugly.

Right now it is blueberry season in SoCal, so everywhere you go you find vast quantities of the berries for little money. I had a giant bucket of blueberries sitting on my counter over the weekend that I got from Trader Joe’s for only $5.99 – a serious bargain. As you read in yesterday’s post, I decided baking muffins for my friends would be the perfect way to start off our Sunday.

Truth be told, the recipe is not of my own creation. It is actually a recipe from Ina Garten called “Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins.” And she is right to call them that – the muffins are just like coffee cake except without the crumbly topping… and blueberries… fluffy, eggy, and not too sweet. It’s a fool-proof recipe that is always a crowd pleaser. Definitely worth sharing, even if it isn’t mine. Thanks, Ina!

Blueberry Muffins (Recipe PDF)