Jazzed Up Gingerbread Muffins

Sometimes, when I bake, I don't want to drag out the flour, the sugar, the baking soda and who knows what else I need to make so tasty morsel of decadence. Sometimes, I'm so pressed for time, that that doing whats in the previous sentence is just not an option. And, sometimes, because I do almost all of my baking with Madaline, its just easier to take the easy way out. That means, letting her crack and wisk the eggs, while I open a box of mix. And, while, it kills me at times, there really is NOTHING wrong with it. And, there is a way that I put my mind at ease. I jazz up a said box mix. I've been known to add fresh grated carrots or chopped up apples to a spice cake mix. No matter how pressed for time I am, I almost always take a few minutes to swirl in some peanut butter or mix chucks of good quality chocolate into boxed brownie mix. And, I 99% of the time, will make a homemade frosting, glaze or gnache for cakes or cupcakes if I've taken a short cut and used a box mix.
Case in point - These fantastically delicious, moist, dense, spicy mounds of muffin heaven. The gingerbread is an old standby (thank you Betty Crocker) and, well, the gnache. Yeah. That's a new one to me. I'd be totally fibbing if I said that I'd come up with the idea of the white chocolate cream cheese gnache all on my own, but I didn't. I totally used the recipe from Vanilla Sugar. I adore her site - and I have a LOT of her recipes in my "when I have more time I need to try this" pile. And, when she posted her recipe for the gingerbread cupcakes with white choco-cream cheese gnache, I knew IMMEDIATELY what Madaline and I would be making on Thursday night.
And, oh....they are good. So, very, very, very good. So, take a couple of hours (well, about 18 minutes to bake the muffins + cooling time + gnache making time) and treat yourself. You'll be happy you did. And, if you really want to take it over the top? Brew yourself a pot of the most decadent coffee you have in the cupboard. Between the muffins and the coffee, all the troubles from your day will just disappear.


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