aboutWe are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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gingerbread muffins

Gingerbread muffins

Gingerbread muffins

Strangely, Patrick and I don't have any food-related Christmas traditions.  We do for Thanksgiving: I have been making the same apple pie every year since we first started dating (the best apple pie ever), we always make my mother-in-law's sweet potato souffle, and, of course, there's turkey.  For Christmas, we make something different every single year because we haven't found a Christmas recipe that has completely wowed us (though this spiced hot chocolate came awful close).



We have other Christmas traditions, though.  On Christmas Eve Eve, we watch Love Actually.  I know all the scenes, practically all the words, and the way the story ebbs and flows throughout the different characters.  Last night, we finished watching it and I turned to Patrick, sighed, and said, as I do every year, "Love actually is everywhere."  Tonight, on Christmas Eve, we'll watch It's A Wonderful Life, one of my all-time favorite movies and one of the few movies that, without fail, makes me cry every single time I watch it.  Tomorrow, we'll open presents and cook.



We're trying a whole bunch of new recipes tomorrow: a mushroom stilton galette, sticky toffee pudding, and cornish hen.  My grand plan for Christmas morning is that we're going to get out of bed in our silk pajamas, sit in front of a roaring fire, eat gingerbread muffins and pomegranate yogurt parfaits, and decorously open our presents.  I suspect our morning is going to be something more like: wake up in our holey t-shirts and shorts, rip apart our presents, leaving scraps of wrapping paper everywhere, dog toys covering the floor, and expensive human toys in our hands.



However, there will be gingerbread muffins and pomegranate yogurt parfaits, not because I plan to make them in the morning but because I made tomorrow's breakfast today.  The verdict on the gingerbread muffins is mixed: the copious amounts of ginger and cinnamon warmed us up and we liked them, but they were dense and missing a little zing.  I made them in paper baking cups and they stuck like crazy so, please, if you make this recipe, use a well-greased muffin tin.  We both thought they needed something a little extra . . . maybe raisins or cranberries.  They were good but won't be hitting our holiday table next year.  We are still on the search for the perfect Christmas traditional food. 

We hope that you and yours have joyful holidays, full of old traditions and new.  Merry Christmas!

Gingerbread Muffins

Adapted from Favorite Old Fashioned Gingerbread at AllRecipes.com
Time: 1 hour
Makes: 12 muffins


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup unsulphured molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a muffin tin.  (DO NOT use paper baking cups - we had a major problem with the muffins sticking to the paper.)

2.  In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.  Beat in the egg and mix in the molasses.

3.  In a bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and then blend into the liquid mixture.  Add the hot water and beat until the batter is creamy.  Pour into prepared pan.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan before removing and serving.

01/02/2011 12:23
Every Christmas, we watch Love Actually AND It's a Wonderful Life (Elf, too). It's my favorite part of the holidays! Also, I want to make these gingerbread muffins, stat.
01/02/2011 12:27
Our Christmas food tradition has become buying a loaf of locally made pannetone, then making Giada DeLaurentis' recipe for pannetone French toast on Christmas morning. It is amazingly delicious - I highly recommend you try it! We haven't started any Christmas dinner food traditions, but our family enjoys seeking out new and interesting recipes each year, so maybe that's our tradition! Happy Holidays!
Melissa's recent blog post: Ringing in the New Year
01/02/2011 12:29
OMG, those look divine! Happy Holidays!!!!
01/02/2011 12:31
I like that idea, of always having different christmas food every year. That makes it much more exciting, next year (if we celebrate christmas at all) I'll spice it up and do something different, thanks for the inspiration!
01/02/2011 12:33
Kristin: We love Elf, too! I think we watched it about 4 times this holiday season because it was always on TV. :)

Connie, If you try them, we would love it if you would let us know what you think!

Melissa, Your idea was so brilliant that I took the rest of the gingerbread muffins and turned them into a french toast/bread pudding a couple of days later. The bread pudding was just divine! Thanks so much for the idea and we'll have to try Giada's recipe sometime soon.

Andi, Thanks! Happy holidays to you, too.

Sofia, It's kind of fun to try something new every holiday. I hope you had a good one!
Akila's recent blog post: our santa
11/09/2011 14:04
This sounds so delicious and beautiful pictures. Makes me want a big bite of summer!
11/10/2011 07:31
Patrick's recent blog post: an ode to cream tea
12/29/2011 18:39
I made some of these this Christmas from this very recipe, they were ab fab :) thanks for the inspiration dear!
06/19/2012 06:15
Yum! Wish I had found this recipe sooner! Maybe there's still time to try it before the New Year!
Connie's recent blog post: Happy New Year!
09/13/2014 10:10
Those photos are immense, I love them mmmmmm :)
10/30/2014 08:44
They look extremely tasty indeed.
10/30/2014 09:03
Terribly cheesy joke I know but nonetheless 'nice buns love'!
11/26/2014 11:41
Perfect for this coming Christmas, can't wait to make these now :)
12/07/2014 11:54
Mmmmm chocolate, they look truly amazing, just in time for the Christmas market too.
02/17/2015 11:52
Truly scrummy, they are, thanks for making me hungry haha
02/21/2015 12:44
Loving the look of all that fresh coco powder, truly divine.
02/24/2015 09:36
Yummykins, uuuuu our charlie will blooming love these cakes.
02/24/2015 10:40
I don't usually make stuff like this but I'm willing to try based on how popular they seem to be here.
02/25/2015 07:32
These are definitely something which you can make anytime of the year, not just Christmas.
03/05/2015 06:58
I'm exhausted after just getting the right ingredients for these buns, if you want top quality and fresh ingredients you have to go far and wide these days huh.

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