3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
a wee bit more than 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or powdered (don’t stress)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar with orange zest mixed in (I zest a whole medium orange into it; let it sit 20 minutes after you’ve rubbed it together with your fingers)
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 cup whole-fat eggnog (light works NOT non-fat–I mean, really?)
For the topping:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons gingerbread spice blend (“Lebkuchengewürz“)*
Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Butter a muffin tin really well–I butter then spray. You do not want to use liners with these muffins if you are going to roll the whole thing in the spiced powdered sugar.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand or powerful hand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with beaters), combine the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, scraping down the sides as you go. Add the orange scented sugar. Mix until light, fluffy, and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, until the batter is looking good and cohesive.
Alternating between the flour and eggnog Add a quarter of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix until just barely combined. Mix in 1/3 of the eggnog until the batter comes together again. Continue adding the flour mixture and the eggnog alternately, ending with the last third of the flour mix. At this point, the batter will be thick — beyond a consistency of cake batter and on it’s way to a quick bread. Don’t worry just stop mixing. Try not to overmix, but once all the ingredients are fully incorporated stop!
Divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling each just over the top. Bake until the muffins have puffed up and begun to brown about, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack.
While the muffins bake mix set up your finishing line–one bowl for the melted butter and another for the powdered sugar and gingerbread spice blend. A little goes a long way but it is also what makes this somewhat addictive.
When the muffins come out of the oven, melt the butter. The key here is that you want to be able to handle the muffins while still warm: dip the muffin (top or the whole darn thing) in the butter and then roll the tops or if doing mini muffins the entire orb. I use my hands but if you don’t like to make a mess you could use a pastry brush. Once you are done you may want to dust them or roll them again. If you do these while too hot the powdered sugar will melt away.
Muffins are best the day of though I will say these are good the next day.
Gingerbread Spice Blend
I make a batch of this spice blend every holiday by 8x the recipe below. It is very adaptable especially if you prefer more of one spice than another, or not at all.
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg