I always think there’s something sumptuous about the idea of spices. Hundreds of years ago, when spices were rare enough to be plied as currency, preparing food laced with a cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves must have been more than merely welcoming–it was a statement. Today, of course, spices are no longer such a precious specie–cinnamon is an everyday flavor, nutmeg almost as much, and cloves we even use for decoration. Still, somehow that legacy of luxury seems to linger, and I think that must be why I always feel a bit profligate when I add spoonfuls of these potent powders to a batter or dough.
Funnily enough, though, the end product is more about comfort than extravagance. Take gingerbread–laden with spices, but what is more homey? To these gingerbread muffins, I’ve added chunks of juicy pear, a fruit that begs to be combined with these warm flavors. It’s cozy feet in slippers in the middle of winter, but I could eat it any time of year.
- 2c (9.2 ounces or 260 g) all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- pinch of mace (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 c dark brown sugar (1.4 ounces/40g)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 c (120mL) light molasses
- 1 c (240mL) cold water
- One Bosc (or other baking) pear, diced.