This is a “twofer” post–2 posts for the price of one. It is a post about the delights of baking with your children and it is a post about what to do when your cakes or muffins do not release (through no fault of your children, I might add)–resulting in 2 different desserts.
So first the actual baking… We chose these miniature gingerbread teacakes for the “formal” tea that my girls had. They were perfect except for the greasing issue–but more on that later. They have definite ginger bite and are very moist–important when discussing miniature treats. Since they are basically a quick bread they are a great recipe to do with your kids.
Now I am traditionally a control freak in the kitchen. I’d love to tell you that I let my kids help with every little thing, but the truth is I struggle just to let them do what they do. I do it because I know it is good for them, so even though I wince when they dump the flour “into” the bowl and half of it goes over the side onto the counter, I (try to anyway) bite my tongue. Sammy dumps dry ingredients–and the beauty of using a scale is that she can dump willy nilly into the bowl until we hit the right number. With Sammy if it is going into the main mixing bowl I usually do the scooping.
Alex helps with all of these duties as well, and sometimes with scooping, but recently Alex “graduated” to her 2 favorite tasks: turning the mixer on and off and scraping down the inside of the bowl. The first is more nerve wracking than it sounds, because it can be hard for little hands to turn the mixer onto a low speed, but if you turn it to a high speed right after adding dry ingredients you can expect a cloud in your face.
Now about the greasing. I made this recipe in 2 miniature silicone loaf pans, 1 nonstick miniature muffin pan, and one Nordic Ware teacake pan shaped like pumpkins and acorns. The original recipe, from Carole Bloom’s Bite-Size Desserts: Creating Mini Sweet Treats, from Cupcakes to Cobblers to Custards and Cookies did not call for any greasing of silicone pans (!) so I lightly greased the first 2 items. The last, the Nordic Ware pan, I thoroughly greased because of the nooks and crannies in the shapes. The Nordic Ware pan is the only one that released. So frustrating after my munchkins’ hard work! But this is what you do when you have a pile of tasty crumbs: you make a trifle. In this case I whipped up ground ginger, heavy whipping cream and softened cream cheese together with sugar to taste and then layered it between the mountains of gingerbread crumbs. It worked well and was happily eaten by my family.
- 1¼ cups (5.5 oz) AP flour
- 1 t baking soda
- 1½ t ground ginger
- 1 t cinnamon
- ½ t ground cloves
- ⅛ t freshly ground nutmeg
- ¼ t salt
- ¼ cup (1.5 oz) finely chopped candied ginger
- 4 T (2 oz, ½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅓ cup (2 oz) packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup unsulphered molasses ( I had to sub some dark corn syrup which was ok but all molasses would be better)
- 1 extra large egg, room temperature
- ½ cup boiling water
- Preheat over to 350 F. Thoroughly grease (or spray) 24 mini (2-inch diameter) muffin wells (I doubled the recipe which was why I had more than one pan).
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add the chopped candied ginger and toss to coat. Set aside.
- Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the brown sugar until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Lightly beat the molasses and egg together and then add to the butter. Mix together on a low medium speed--the mixture may look curdled but this is ok. Mix in the boiling water. On low speed, mix the flour in in 4 additions. Finish by hand with a spatula, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as you mix. Divide between the muffin wells--they should be ¾-full. I keep extra mini loaf pans for extra batter in case my muffin pans are not identically sized. Bake for about 25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 3 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Garnish with whipped cream before serving.
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