Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gingerbread Bites - Thanks, James Beard

In 1980, when I constantly baked bread of all kinds, I received a copy of Beard on Bread that promptly became dog-eared.

Today, with an upcoming party that requires finger food and a jar of molasses that was crying to be used, I revisited James Beard's gingerbread recipe - and then made a few changes. I know, I know, that's almost sacrilegious, but as much as I love to play in the kitchen making changes was a foregone conclusion. Here are my:

Gingerbread Bites
Makes 24 mini cupcakes
+ a few large ones

1 cup dark molasses
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup oatmeal, ground fine
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup walnuts, ground

miniature muffin pans for 24
24 miniature muffin papers
(also, large muffin pan and papers for extra batter)

Icing recipe, below
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind oatmeal to a fine 'flour' in food processor, and set aside. Grind walnuts; set aside.
Stir together molasses, butter, and boiling water until butter melts and ingredients combine. Add ginger, salt, and baking powder. Stir in oatmeal flour and combine thoroughly, then stir in flour and walnuts.
Place small muffin papers in pans and fill each paper 3/4s full; fill larger muffin papers/tin as needed. Bake 20 minutes until springy when touched (VOE - two potholders work better than one to remove them; something about how little 'border metal' there is around each muffin hole). Cool completely and top the center of each cupcake with 1 teaspoon dollop of icing. Keep refrigerated.
VOE - it takes longer to fill mini-cupcake papers than regular
VOE - large cupcakes require 30 minutes baking time
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
Cream together butter, cream cheese and confectioner's sugar. Stir in molasses.

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