These wonderful muffins are from home cook advocate and cookbook author, Marion Cunningham. She passed away last month at ninety and Lottie & Doof called upon this recipe in her honor. I followed suit and am new fan. If you are unfamiliar with Cunningham, Kim Severson — an amazing author and cook in her own right — wrote a wonderful obituary in The New York Times.
In the meantime, these muffins are delicate and simple, moist and delicious warm from the oven. I used the excuse of a somewhat upset stomach to gobble three in a row. Ginger settles the upset stomach, right?
I experimented using paper liners for half the muffins — I preferred those in the greased tin. The liners affected the texture of the baked muffins, making them a little stiff on the outside.
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.