Gingerbread Waffles with all the Fixin’s

Gingerbread Waffles

Our Christmas morning brunch consisted of bacon, mimosas and homemade waffles—gingerbread waffles! For me, it really couldn’t get much better than that.

When the big seester brought up waffles for our menu, I quickly suggested a gingerbread spin since the flavors were perfect for the season and well, because I’m obsessed with everything gingerbread.

I turned to good ol’ Martha Stewart as I had read some great feedback on her version of gingerbread waffles. The batter came together quickly and isn’t the least bit fussy. Once we ladled the batter onto the griddle, you could instantly smell the delicious spices mixed with molasses. And because we were going the extra mile for Christmas, we added some awesome fixin’s that went with the crispy, spiced waffles – Grand Marnier whipped cream and a tart cranberry compote. YUM!

These waffles definitely celebrate the flavors of the holiday but are so darn good, I intend to have them year round–particularly since they freeze beautifully. And I’m all about stocking up on my freezer meals.

Have a great weekend, Folks!

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Gingerbread Waffles with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream and Cranberry Compote
Makes approximately 8-10 waffles

Ingredients:

Cranberry Compote:
1 12-ounce bag cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier Whipped Cream:
2 cups chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Waffle Batter (From Martha Stewart)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses

Prepare the compote. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir and simmer the ingredients for 20 – 25 minutes until the berries have broken down and the sauce has thickened. Set aside.

Prepare the whipped cream. Using a standing mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment, whip the chilled heavy cream on high until it just holds soft peaks. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar and whisk until you reach stiff peaks. Slowly pour in the Grand Marnier and whip until combined. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Heat the waffle iron.

Prepare the waffle batter. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, butter, milk, sour cream, and molasses in a medium bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, and whisk until smooth.

Grease the waffle iron as needed and ladle in the batter. Cook until golden brown and serve with the whipped cream and a dollop of compote.

Molasses Cookies with Gingerbread M&Ms

Molasses Cookies with Gingerbread M&Ms

Have you baked your cookies for Santa yet?

No?

Then you’re in luck because I’ve got a little something for you!

Molasses Cookies with Gingerbread M&Ms

When this gingerbread lovin’ gal got my little hands on a few bags of Gingerbread M&Ms, I knew I had to pair them together with my favorite Molasses Cookies that I bake a ton of around this time of year. The original cookies are slightly chewy and have that wonderful spiced, warm flavor.

The addition of the M&Ms added great texture, and of course, extra gingerbread flavor–always a good thing. I’m pretty sure if you left these cookies out for the Big Guy, you’d score some major points.

Molasses Cookies with Gingerbread M&Ms

And with that, dear Friends, I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Christmas!

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Molasses Cookies with Gingerbread M&Ms

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1½ cups Gingerbread M&M candies
1 cup Granulated Sugar (to roll dough in)

In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, light brown sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the molasses and vanilla extract. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Mix dry ingredients into the molasses mixture. Stir in 1 cup of the Gingerbread M&M candies. Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll them in the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Using the bottom of a flat glass, gently press down on the cookies to lightly flatten. With the remaining Gingerbread M&Ms, add a few candies to the top/sides of each cookie dough, pressing them slightly in.

Bake for 7-8 minutes until tops are cracked. Remove from baking sheets and allow the cookies to cool on the sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes + Nambé Winner!

Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes

Is it just me or is time FLYING by?!

I feel like I was just wondering what my Halloween costume was going to be and within a blink of an eye, Thanksgiving has come and gone and now we’re barreling towards the Winter Holidays. YIKES!

But with the Winter Holidays comes all the flavors that I adore —- and gingerbread probably tops the lot.

These gingerbread cuppies are wonderfully spiced, deeply flavored with molasses & fresh ginger and are quite moist. I added in some pears for an additional level of flavor and texture and think they paired well with the spiced frosting. However, if you feel like cutting out some sweetness, simply serve the cupcakes inverted as the pears will act as a wonderful “topping”. Either way, your guests will adore you for them.

Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes

And now for the winner of our Nambe platter! Drum Roll please………….

CONGRATS Ryan M. who said he would use this platter to feature local cheeses and jams he has made this year. MMMmmm!! Ryan, please check your email for instructions.

THANK YOU to everyone who participated! And a big THANKS to our friends at Nambe!!!!

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Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes approximately 24-28 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Batter
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ cup molasses
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 cup chopped pears

Frosting
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon molasses
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5-6 cups confectioner sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tin with paper cups.

In a bowl, sift together the flour and dried spices. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the boiling water, baking soda, sugar and molasses until combined. Stir in the vegetable oil. Allow the liquids to cool slightly. Mix in the dried ingredients and then the eggs, vanilla extract and fresh ginger. Once the batter has been combined, carefully fold in the pears.

Fill the paper cups three-quarters full and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans on a wire rack 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Whip in molasses, cinnamon, and cloves. Gradually whip in the confectioner sugar, ½ cup at a time. Continue adding sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Fill a piping bag with the frosting and pipe large swirls on top of the cooled cupcakes.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Molasses Frosting

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Molasses Frosting

I think one of my biggest challenges if I ever became a professional cook would be consistency. One day I’ll make something and it’ll turn out quite yummy. But to my disappointment, the next time I make the exact same thing, it’s a flop. Same conditions, no additions, no edits……just different results. Bummer, right?

Unfortunately that was the case when I made these Gingerbread Cupcakes. Last year I made them for the holidays and I was smitten! They had a wonderful flavor and were super fluffy—-I just couldn’t wait to whip some out for this winter season.

I happily volunteered to make these cupcakes for a holiday party my sister recently hosted. I was true to the cupcake recipe and didn’t change a thing. But I did however take some liberties and switched the Cardamom Frosting for my take on a Spiced Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting.

As they were baking, the cuppies emitted a spicy, rich aroma and I just knew the frosting would be a wonderful match for them. Needless to say, expectations were high. But alas, this batch just fell short. The cake did have a great flavor–just as I remembered it but the texture was quite dry and dense. Yeah….I was bummed. The good news is the saving grace was the new frosting—slightly tangy from the cream cheese and deeply fragrant from the spices and molasses.

Golden cuppies before getting their frosting swirls…

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Molasses FrostingDid you happen to catch the cute little gingerbread men sprinkles on top?? Courtesy of Barbara of Pauline’s Cake Decorating Supplies in San Jose, CA

This rendition of Gingerbread Cupcakes is definitely worth a “Do-Over“—especially since I know that they can be deliciously moist. But if for some strange reason I get the same “dry” results, I’ll just turn them into Gingerbread Cake Pops. Shhh! It’ll be our little secret. :)

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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Molasses Frosting
Makes 12 Cupcakes

Gingerbread Cupcakes (from The Spice Kitchen: Everyday Cooking with Organic Spices)
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
½ Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
½ Cup Molasses
1 Egg
½ Teaspoon Vanilla
½ Cup Boiling Water
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Teaspoon Dried Lemon Zest
¼ Teaspoon Salt

Spiced Molasses Frosting
10 Ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
¼ Cup Molasses
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
3-4 Cups Confectioner Sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with paper cups.

Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses, egg, and vanilla. In a small bowl, stir together the boiling water and baking soda until dissolved. Stir the baking soda water into the molasses mixture.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, lemon zest, and salt into a small bowl. Whisk the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until the batter is combined.

Spoon the gingerbread batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of one or two of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Place the gingerbread cupcakes on a rack to cool for 30 minutes.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Mix in molasses, cinnamon, and cloves. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time. Continue adding sugar to desire consistency. Fill a piping bag with the frosting and pipe large swirls on top of the cupcakes.

Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes

I’ve already confessed by Gingerbread obsession. :) So, when a recent holiday feast left us with some delicious Poached Pear leftovers, I seized the opportunity to kick up a favorite holiday goodie.

I chose to adapt Martha Stewart’s recipe for Gingerbread Cupcakes. Her version has such a wonderful spicy flavor with a moist cake that I knew would be the perfect match to the pears. However, since her recipe is scaled for “jumbo cupcakes”, I needed to tweak the measurements a bit.

The end results were absolutely delicious—-personally, my favorite cupcake of the year. :) And for those who prefer to scale down the sweet factor, swap out my cream cheese frosting for a light dusting of confectioner sugar.

These “Cuppies” will definitely be added to my Holiday Baking Rotation—though maybe next time I’ll use a Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting as opposed to the standard Cream Cheese. After all, it is the holidays!

Enjoy!!!

Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes © Photo rights reserved.

Sneak Peak of the Pears © Photo rights reserved.

Poached Pears © Photo rights reserved.

 

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Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes
Makes 12 Cupcakes
The Gingerbread Cupcake Batter was adapted from Martha Stewart’s “Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe” to accommodate a half batch and regular cupcake size.

Ingredients:

Cupcake Batter
1 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
¾ Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
¼ Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter at room temperature
½ Cup Packed Dark-Brown Sugar
½ Cup Unsulphered Molasses
1 Large Egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
1½ Diced Poached Pears

Poached Pears
3 Bosc Pears (peeled, cored, halved)
1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
5-6 Allspice Corns
5-6 Whole Cloves
1 Vanilla Bean, split with seeds scraped
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Cups White Wine

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 Ounces of Cream Cheese at room temperature
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter at room temperature
2½ -3 Cups Confectioner Sugar (varies due to preferred frosting consistency)
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized saucepan, combine ingredients for poached pears with the exception of the pears. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add pears. Bring liquid to a rolling boil and lower to a light simmer. Cook pears until fork tender. Remove from heat and thoroughly cool. Once cooled, remove pears from poaching liquid and pat dry. Dice pears in small cubes.

In another small saucepan, bring ½ cup water to a boil. In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light. Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the egg. Carefully fold in the diced pears.

Fill prepared cupcake pans lined with paper cups three-quarters full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in the pans on wire racks.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add vanilla and then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time. Continue adding sugar to desire consistency. (I typically lean towards the full 3 cups for a firmer consistency to pipe the frosting). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before use.

Once cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with prepared Cream Cheese frosting. Cupcakes can be stored up to three days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Note: Remaining Poached Pears can serve as a light and delicious dessert. Serve with a zabaglione or whipped cream. When storing in the refrigerator, keep pears in poaching liquid to add to the flavor and moistness.

Mini Spiced Cheesecakes with Gingerbread Crust

Since we were preparing a “heavy meal” for my family the other night, I wanted to make something light for dessert to end things off with a little sweetness. What better than mini cheesecakes? They’re small enough for folks who have had a bit too much for dinner but perfect for those of us who have a spare “dessert tummy” that we reserve specifically for delicious treats. They’re quite small so you can just pop them into your mouth. :)

This particular recipe is wonderful for the holiday season with its gingerbread crust and spiced cheesecake filling. The ricotta also offers a light pairing to the cream cheese that is neither too sweet nor dense. For those who prefer even more warmth in flavor, add an additional ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to the cheesecake mixture. You can also swap out the raspberry garnish for a drizzle of white chocolate ganache.

Enjoy! :)

 

Mini Spiced Cheesecakes with Gingerbread Crust © Photo rights reserved.

 

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Mini Spiced Cheesecakes with Gingerbread Crusts
Makes approximately 18-20 mini cheesecakes

Ingredients:

1 Cup Gingersnap Cookies
4 Tablespoons Melted Butter
½ Cup Ricotta Cheese
4 Ounces Cream Cheese
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
½ Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
Raspberries for Garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees.

In a food processor, pulse Gingersnap cookies into an even powder. Transfer to a bowl and add melted butter until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Generously spray 2 mini-muffin pans with cooking spray. Place a heaping teaspoon of the gingersnap mixture into the bottom of each cup, pressing firmly down to pack the bottom. Place the prepared pans in the oven and bake for approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

In a food processor combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and the eggs. Blend until smooth. Fill the cups with about 1½ tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture. Situate the mini muffin pans in a water bath by placing them in a baking dish and pour boiling water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the mini muffin pans. Bake for 25 minutes. Transfer the mini muffin pans to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes then refrigerate for 20 minutes. Use a small pairing knife to gently pop the cheesecakes out of the cups. Plate the mini cheesecakes and garnish with one raspberry atop each cake.