On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

Ginger Muffins

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Are you surprised this is not a cupcake post?

Sometimes you just need something a little less …. fussy? Something less complicated. But don’t confuse that for lack of flavour and texture.

Muffins are a great idea for a weekend treat. You could eat a few of these (I know from experience) where you wouldn’t eat a few cupcakes in one sitting.


Sometimes when I’m looking online at other food blogs I end up winding my way through many linked blogs. This was one of those occasions.

Here I show my ignorance over well known chefs/bakers/cooks. This recipe is from Marion Cunningham. I’d read a tweet many months ago about her passing and I admit to first thinking it was Marion Cunningham from Happy Days. But it’s not.

Marion Cunningham was a food writer. I still don’t know much more about her other than what I read on other blogs. I guess she is well known in America, but I’m not sure she had that same following in New Zealand. Perhaps it’s a bit like a New Zealander talking about Alison Holst. Very well known in New Zealand, but would people beyond our shores know who we’re talking about. I suspect not.


What attracted me to this recipe is the combination of flavours. Lemon and Ginger, but more than that, the ginger is from ginger root. Bonus!

Mr Fussy and I are real fans of citrus flavours, and Mr Fussy is attracted to anything that includes ginger as an ingredient, and he’s not after a subtle flavour.

I like Muffins, there’s nothing pretentious about a muffin. It’s honest food. It’s one of those foods that fall into the what you see is what you get category. Sometimes you want something more simple than say a cupcake, or something adorned with icing or needing to be served with fruit or buried by chocolate.


While you save the time lining the muffin tin with cupcake cases and preparing frosting, you put that energy into cooking the raw ginger and mixing the sugar and lemon zest which ultimately ends up wrapped around the ginger and then being added to the batter.

Just talking about this makes me want another one of these tasty muffins. I did freeze some but I’ll refrain from heading to the freezer and pretend I’m in control of my food urges.

This recipe will be one of those I turn to time after time.

Ginger Muffins  – word for word from Lottie + Doof (adapted from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book)


  • 3 oz (or even a little more) piece of unpeeled ginger root, cleaned well
    3/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
    2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 large eggs, at room temperature
    1 cup buttermilk
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin tin.
  • Cut the unpeeled ginger root into large chunks. If you have a food processor, process the ginger until it is in tiny pieces; alternatively, mince by hand. Measure out 1/3 cup – or a little more. As Marion says, it’s better to have too much than too little. Put the ginger and 1/4 cup sugar in a small skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has melted and the mixture is hot. This will only take a minute or two. Set aside to cool.
  • In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers to release the oils. Add the lemon sugar to the ginger mixture.
  • Put the butter and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or, a mixing bowl, if you plan to use handheld beaters or mix by hand) and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, and beat well. Add the buttermilk, and beat until blended. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda, and beat just until smooth. Add the ginger-lemon mixture, and beat to mix well. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Serve warm!

Yield: 12 muffins


When I bake I usually save one of whatever it is and then share it with Mr Fussy. I did intend for these to be our Sunday lunch so I feel slightly less guilty that my start of 1/2 a muffin which turned into 3 wasn’t really overdoing it. And as a bonus, these don’t need any butter at all. They taste great in all their nakedness. Sometimes less is more.

If you’re a sucker for citrus and ginger then you can’t go wrong with this recipe.


That little hole in the muffins is from a piece of ginger that fell out when I was cutting it. I couldn’t help myself and ate it right there and then. I could say it’s because I didn’t want any crumbs on the plate, but it was all about my lack of willpower.

My last comment is about what appears to be an American ritual. This recipe comes from a book about breakfasts, and I’ve read many other blogs talking about muffins being breakfast food. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that in New Zealand a Muffin would be a morning or afternoon snack before it would be a breakfast food. Maybe it’s just me and my upbringing.

However you serve these, you wont be disappointed.


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