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Guest Blogger: Ryan makes Gingerbread Cupcakes

JavaCupcake Note: This is a guest blog post from Ryan of Ryan’s Baking Blog. I recently came across Ryan’s blog and have to admit… I’m an instant fan.  Any man who can hold his own with a spatula and whisk… I’m a fan of.  Check out Ryan’s blog, find him on Facebook or Tweet with him!

The holidays are coming, it’s December, and you need to get in the kitchen RIGHT NOW.

Seriously, pick up your computer (I don’t care if it’s a desktop) and get in the kitchen.

Take out some molasses, brown sugar, butter, and your mixer and let’s get started, the holidays are going to be here before you know it and you will want to be prepared with this gingerbread cupcakes with brown butter frosting.

Yum, brown sugar.

Did you know you can make your own?

This is the part where the spices combine and your kitchen starts to smell really, really good.

And this is the part where you eat raw eggs because you can’t resist eating this delicious smelling cake batter.

And now we brown some butter.

It’s a lot easier than people make it seem, just keep an eye on it.

You’ll melt the butter down over medium-high heat, I use a cast-iron skillet, some people use saucepans. Don’t take your eye off of it, even for a second.

It’ll start to bubble violently and you’ll want to duck for cover but DON’T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF IT.

Once it stops bubbling it’ll start to brown and it’ll brown fast. Keep stirring occasionally and watching. It’ll turn darker by the second. When you feel like it’s a suitable dark brown (I usually go for a nutty, dark amber color) then remove it from the heat. You can take it off a little sooner if you are really scared of burning it, but as long as you watch it you shouldn’t burn it.

Combine it with milk, sugar, and vanilla and you get this absolutely amazing frosting.

Brown butter is probably my favorite flavor and it’s great for the holidays, especially mixed with gingerbread. Once you get the hang of browning butter, you can make browned butter dutch baby pancakes for breakfast (my favorite) or browned butter and vanilla bean cupcakes.

Whoever decided to almost burn butter is a genius.

Gingerbread Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 21-24 cupcakes

1 cup water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup unsulphered molasses
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350°F and line two standard Cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside.

In a large bowl, sift and whisk together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder, set aside.

In another bowl or in an stand mixer, cream the butter until light. Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, baking soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs. Be careful not to overbeat.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool in pan for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Brown Butter Icing
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk, plus more if necessary

Sift confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl, set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan on medium-high heat until it turns a nut-brown color. It should bubble first and then settle down and turn brown. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and pour into strainer over top of the confectioners’ sugar.

Add vanilla and 1/4 cup milk and blend together before using a mixer (so it doesn’t splash everywhere). If necessary for consistency, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time, up to an additional 4 tablespoons. Let everything cool before spreading onto cupcakes.