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.

Molasses Cookies—Mmm…so good!

One of my favorite childhood memories of the holidays was going to visit my mom at Donaldson’s—the department store that she worked at in Minnesota. My siblings and I would head over to the mall with our dad and meander about. Too young at that age to be interested in Christmas shopping, I would look forward to all of the holiday decorations and hoopla of the season. But my ultimate memories surround the moments when the elevator doors would open in the department store and the amazing aromas of gingerbread would fill the air. It was so magically intoxicating and to me, it was heaven.

I truly believe that’s what started my love for the flavor and smell of gingerbread. There’s just something about that spicy scent that will instantly transport me back to my youth—and as I believe, nostalgia can be that hidden “taste” bud. :) Gingerbread cookies, gingerbread loaves, gingerbread lattes—you name it, I love them all!

So when the holidays come around, I go into full gingerbread baking mode. Of my favorites to make are my Molasses Cookies. They carry the same spicy punch that a great gingerbread cookie should have but are slightly chewy in the inside and crisp on the outside–which is this gal’s favorite cookie profile. :) Through trial and error, I’ve tweaked the below recipe from an online post I found years ago. I am sorry to say that I cannot remember where I first snagged it—so my apologies that I can’t give due credit to the original.

They are SUPER yummy and very easy to pull together. If you’re looking to transport your home into the holiday spirit—try whipping up a batch of these Molasses Cookies. It will make your house smell AMAZING  (almost as good as the gingerbread aromas of my childhood). :)

Molasses Cookies © Photo rights reserved.

Molasses Cookies © Photo rights reserved.

Molasses Cookies
Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, melted
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg at room temperature
1/4 Cup Molasses
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
1 Cup Granulated Sugar (to roll dough in)
2 Tablespoons Confectioner Sugar (for dusting)

In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, light brown sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the molasses. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Mix dry ingredients into the molasses mixture. 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.

Bake for 7-8 minutes until tops are cracked. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks. Once cookies have completely cooled, lightly dust them with confectioner sugar.

Note: Dried spices as well as baking soda & baking powder lose potency over time. For best results, I suggest keeping them in your cupboard for no longer than 6 months before discarding.