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Double Gingerbread Cupcakes

gingerbread recipe, gingerbread man recipe, gingerbreadThese would have been far cuter had I been able to find my teeny gingerbread man cookie cutter, which is almost surely in the bottom of the toy box. However, it did streamline things to use wee star and heart shaped cutters instead, which eliminated the need to decorate the cookies themselves with eyes and buttons.

Gingerbread is as seasonal a flavor as any; any other month of the year the thought doesn’t cross my mind, but in December I crave it.

Gingerbread cookies are fine, but I like it in cake form better – so why not as cupcakes? As they bake, mix together a batch of gingerbread cookie dough and cut out small shapes to bake and top a swirl of icing with – an easy decoration, even if it means baking an extra batch of cookies. Bonus: you’ll have two versions of gingerbread, instead of one.

Cream cheese frosting is delicious on gingerbread, or try a basic vanilla or lemon buttercream.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
2 large eggs
2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt. In a large bowl beat together the butter, oil, and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in the molasses and eggs until smooth. Put the baking soda into a small bowl or liquid (you’ll need extra room – it bubbles up) measuring cup, and add 3/4 cup boiling water.

Add a third of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, beating on low speed just until blended. Add half the water mixture in the same way, then another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the water mixture and the rest of the dry ingredients, blending just until combined. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes, or until tops are springy to the touch. Makes 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

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