These Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins were inspired by something that happened to my family and I one cool British summer day after lunch at the Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere. As we walked through the beautiful village, my husband, son and I were drawn – solely by the heady scent of gingerbread baking – into a small seventeenth century cottage.
Formerly a school that boasted poet William Wordsworth amongst its teacher, in the mid 1800‘s this cottage became home to one Sarah Nelson and her family. To make ends meet, Sarah began to make and sell gingerbread. Her Grasmere Gingerbread has been famous from then on. Today it is still made in Sarah’s kitchen using the same recipe that she used all those years ago.
Deep, treacly and heady with the scent of the Indies, the flavour of Grasmere Gingerbread was haunting, like nothing I had ever tasted before. It left me with a mild obsession with all forms of ginger. I drink it in tea, use it to warm stir fries and bake all kinds of gingerbreads, cakes and cookies.
A long time ago, the lovely and talented Karen of Trilogy Edibles shared a recipe for Pumpkin Gingerbread Streusel Muffins. The recipe was so deeply, madly, richly gingerbready it immediately reminded me of that day in the Lake District and the taste and smells of Sarah’s cottage.
As an homage to Sarah’s gingerbread , I decided to play with Karen’s recipe a bit. I substituted brown sugar for white, adjusted the spicing and incorporated crystallised ginger for even more depth. Buttermilk added a bit of extra tang. It isn’t exactly Grasmere Gingerbread…but it sure does bring back memories. Perfect with a cup of tea, coffee or a cold glass of milk, these muffins taste even better after a day’s keeping and are the perfect warming breakfast or snack on a cold or wet winter day.
Adapted from Trilogy Edibles
Makes about 18 large muffins
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 20 to 25 minutes
For the streusel:
¼ cup all purpose (plain) flour
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons cold cubed butter
Combine the flour, sugar, oats and Pumpkin Pie Spice. Add the butter and cut in with a knife or pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
For the muffins:
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups lightly packed light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup molasses
2 eggs, at room temperature
2½ cups all purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons very finely chopped crystallised ginger
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour or line 18 muffin cups.
Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the pumpkin puree, buttermilk and molasses. Beat in the eggs.
Sift the flour, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Stir through the crystallised ginger. Add this to the creamed mixture.
Blend thoroughly but do not over-mix.
Scoop into the prepared muffin pans using an ice cream scoop. Sprinkle with the the streusel.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool before eating. If you can resist, leave the cooled muffins in a sealed container overnight before serving as it allows the flavours to develop. Muffins will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.