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gingerbread muffinsLOOK! i still bake things and blog things! i once read this list of things bloggers should never, ever do, and #1 said, “don’t apologize for your absence, people get annoyed when you’re all, omg i’ve been gone for so long, i’m so sorry dear readers. but i don’t have very many dear readers, and WHATEVA, I DO WHAT I WANT, so, here’s my apology: life got away from me. dear god, it’s me, sarah, and it has been over 2 months since my last real blog post. i am here to confess my sins.

i really am hoping to talk to you guys, my faraway + internet friends, about what i’ve been doing the past few months, but that’s a story (or stories) for another post (posts).

we are gathered here today to talk about the deliciousness that is these gingerbread muffins. i adapted them from how sweet eats’ recipe (love her, want to be her), and by adapted i mean i didn’t have enough maple syrup, i was too lazy to walk the 2 blocks to the grocery store and i didn’t want to use the aunt jemima (ew) from the bodega across the street, so i used honey instead.

anywho, this recipe calls for LOTS of molasses, and i love anything with molasses. i always try to lick it out of the jar (TMI?), only to realize that while molasses makes other things taste GREAT, molasses itself tastes, well, bitter and gross and oh my god why did i put that in my mouth?!

i have the same issue with vanilla extract.

i made these muffins on sunday morning, and then i took a pretty picture of them on a pretty tea towel and marveled at my artistry and how perfectly baked they were. then i ate one on the way to soulcycle and resisted the urge to instagram my artistry, knowing that this here recipe would be a good one for the blog.

so here we are, folks. gingerbread muffins! OH MY HOLIDAY!

what you’ll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (use fresh if you have it, i didn’t)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup (substitute honey if you don’t have enough – that’s what i did)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup milk
raw sugar for topping (i used THIS amazing vanilla bean sugar that in nashville last month and it is the BOMB DIGGITY. if you like to bake, ORDER IT)

what you’ll do:

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. line your muffin tin with liners (pretty ones make all the difference).

whisk together your dry ingredients in a small bowl: flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves. set aside.

in a larger bowl (i used my kitchenaid mixer, also known as my BBF, my best baking friend), whisk together brown sugar and egg. once those are hanging out, getting to know one another, whisk in the molasses, maple syrup (or honey if that’s the path you chose) and vanilla extract. then, whisk in your melted butter until all is fully combined and right with the world.

stir in your dry ingredients until JUST combined. no overzealous mixing, please.

before they’re fully combined, stir in the milk. now you should have a smooth batter.

fill your muffin cups 3/4 of the way full, and top each with a big sprinkle of sugar. bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until your muffin tops are set. no one likes a jiggly muffin top.

(sorry, couldn’t resist).

now, eat, celebrate, share with friends, bring to your office, etc. most of all, ENJOY!

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everyone has that friend – the one who’s a mini martha in training, who can whip up a four course meal like it’s nothing, who can decorate for a dinner party without even thinking twice about her style choices. the gifts on this list are great for girlfriends, moms, and anyone who loves a good party. i mean, hello, who wouldn’t love those “pop fizz clink” balloons for a new year’s even party? and those bath salts…no one can resist a good relaxation moment. the nest holiday candle is my absolute favorite scent right now, and it makes a great present. there’s nothing like bottling up the scent of christmas and then releasing it wherever you so choose.

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ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN | ELEVEN | TWELVE | THIRTEEN

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i haven’t had a ton of opportunities to shop for men over the holidays, mostly because my family is comprised of all women, and my guy friends have never been of the gift-exchanging sort. and of course, i’m single, and have been for quite a while. which means i basically only buy gifts for women. that being said, i had a fabulous time putting together this gift guide for gents. let’s just say i am doing some imaginary shopping for my imaginary boyfriend (who of course is the type to make fancy cocktails and use fancy beard oil). hey, if this is imaginary, he can be whoever i want him to be, right?

for those of you with actual men in your lives, godspeed. and here’s hoping you like this handy dandy gentleman’s gift guide.

happy shopping!

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ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN | ELEVEN | TWELVE

shop other installments of the 2013 gift guide:

stocking stuffers

bits and bobs for besties

paper snob

beauty junkie

office space

gemstones

all that glitters