Friday, January 18, 2013

Take me back to the Island...


We don't go on vacation often, but in 2011, we were lucky enough to spend a couple of glorious weeks on Kauai, up on the North side, where everything is green, lush and peaceful.  If you ever get the chance, stay up in Princeville, bring your kindle loaded with books and sunscreen and plan for some serious tropical relaxation.

So we are in the airport, waiting for our flight home.  We decided we needed some snacks.  I stopped at a little Starbucks shop and perused the pastries.  There was something I'd never seen before! Lemon-Ginger Muffins.  Well being a lemon lover, I HAD to try it.  I purchased my goods and shortly thereafter we boarded the plane. After a short while, I decided it was snack time, I got out that little lemon goodie, and tore off a bite. Oh My!  It was love at first bite. Lightly lemon flavored, small chunks of spicy ginger and slightly crunchtastic, buttery top...oh what a joy!   Now the voice in my head got panicked. "Why did I have to discover this on the way HOME???  Well, maybe it's a new summer flavor, and I just missed out because I hadn't been to the Bigbucks coffee places lately.  No need to panic, right?  I hope the hubs doesn't notice I am eating the whole thing, cause I don't want to share...I'm sure he can try one back at home..."

As it turned out, it was an island exclusive, or some such annoying they-don't-have-it-at-home problem.  The don't have it everywhere, WHAT WILL I DO???  It was then time to take matters into my own hands.  After many experiments, and taste testing, I have almost reproduced the taste of that wonderful vacation in a little wrapper of love.
Tah-Dah!
So should you think this sounds yummy, and you want to give it a try yourself.  Here is my recipe:

Glazed Lemon Ginger Muffins

Crumble Topping
5 tbs of butter, cut in to small pieces, and cold
5 tbs of All purpose Flour
1/2 cup of sugar

Put the butter chunks in a wide bowl that will be easy to smush with the dry ingredients, pour the dry stuff in on top, and begin mixing with a fork or other reasonable kitchen implement to incorporate all of the powdery substances, with the buttery substance.  If you get impatient like I do sometimes and use your fingers, and warm up the butter, put it in the fridge or freezer while you do the next part. It needs to be cold for baking.

Muffins

3 c All purpose flour  (this recipe can hold up to whole wheat flour too if you prefer)
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tbs baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
10 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
Zest from 2 large lemons or 3 small ones
6 tbs of ginger preserves ( I chopped the large pieces, so there weren't any giant pieces in the muffin)
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
9 oz of lemon chiffon or regular lemon  1% yogurt

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating each fully before adding the next.  Next add vanilla and ginger preserves, incorporate fully.
Next add about one third of your dry ingredients and mix until no longer dry.  Then add half of the yogurt, mix until incorporated, next another third of the dry ingredients, and then the final yogurt followed by the rest of the dry ingredients.  Be sure to work quickly once you begin adding the dry ingredients, you do not want to over-mix and have tough muffins.

Scoop the batter into cupcake liners or a prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about 2/3 full.  *** I try to forget this next step almost every time! Don't do that!***  Next add the buttery, crumbly goodness topping to each muffin.  You''ll thank me later, I promise.

Bake on the center rack at 375 degrees for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed clean.

While you are waiting for these little goodies to cook, you should make the glaze topping (yes, another topping, it's worth it I swear!)

Glaze Topping
1 c powdered sugar
2 tbs lemon juice

Combine until sugar dissolves, and set aside.

As soon as your lovely muffins leave their hot box home, you should apply this glaze to each one lovingly.  The hot muffins will absorb some of the glaze and some will sit happily on top waiting for your enjoyment.  After the muffins have cooled, you can always add more glaze if you want to!  :)
You should get about 16-18 muffins from this recipe.

I have tried this recipe with candied ginger as well, the problem with candied ginger is it's impossible to get into palatable pieces.  My discovery of ginger preserves saved me from candied ginger frustration, and incorporates a hint of that spicy bite throughout the muffins perfectly!  I did however note that the brand I have had large ginger chunks that still needed some chopping to create a happy muffin, but that's up to you!

I better go get one before they are all gone!  They are a favorite here in the house.  I hope they become a favorite for you too!


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