What could be better than a muffin that you don’t have to spread anything on–because it has its own amazing spread inside?
Jamtastic is a small batch jam company based in VT. I just recently discovered them at the Troy Waterfront Farmer’s Market, where they have a booth for the winter season. I am a huge sucker for handmade/artisan anything in a jar, so of course when I heard there was going to be a jam company among the winter vendors, I had to check them out.
I wasn’t disappointed. During my first visit, I chatted with the man behind the jam, Ross Warren, and was intrigued by his description of what he has dubbed Christmas Jam. He claimed to have “put Christmas in a jar.” I smelled the stuff and he wasn’t kidding. There’s quite a lot of cranberry and a pleasing combination of seasonal spices that I think would put anyone in the holiday spirit even if it was the middle of summer.
I walked away with a jar of no-sugar added berry spread, but last week I just had to go back and get the Christmas Jam. At first, I’d thought about spreading it on gingerbread, but then it hit me: why not make some gingerbread muffins and put the jam inside?
I had to Google around for a gingerbread recipe to adapt because the muffins I usually make are pumpkin gingerbread, and I knew I didn’t want that. I needed something classic and spicy that the Christmas Jam would complement. This recipe from Chel Rabbit gave me a good starting point. It has all the traditional, warming gingerbread spices, the full flavor of molasses and, bonus, it’s already vegan!
I noodled with the original a bit to reduce the sugar and make it oil-free. My version uses less molasses and substitutes maple syrup for the sugar. Unsweetened applesauce stands in for the oil and, of course, there’s a little explosion of Christmas right in the middle thanks to the addition of a spoonful of Jamtastic Christmas Jam to each muffin. I also added a bit of crunch in the form of some chopped walnuts, because what’s a muffin without some nuts?
The original recipe made quite a large gingerbread cake and I found that it translated to eight big muffins. That means you’ll have some empty muffin tins when you’re ready to bake. Be sure you’ll put some water in those sections so the pan doesn’t burn. (Theoretically, you could also make 16 small muffins and reduce the baking time.)
Serve them for breakfast with tofu scramble or just eat them as-is when you bake them. Because they are that good.
(If you can’t get your hands on Christmas Jam, go ahead and use any jam you like that goes well with gingerbread. But I highly encourage you to try the Jamtastic stuff–it’s very original and the flavor inside the muffins is amazing.)
- 1¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 9 Tbsp molasses
- 2Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup walnuts
- 8 Tbsp Jamtastic Christmas Jam (or your favorite jam)
- Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease two large muffin tins.
- Place the flours, baking powder, ginger and dry spices in a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
- In a separate, smaller bowl, use a whisk to thoroughly mix the applesauce, molasses, maple syrup, hot water, ground flax and vinegar.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the walnuts.
- Fill 8 of the muffin tins halfway with batter. Place 1Tbsp of jam in the center of each muffin, then spoon more batter on top until the muffin cups are mostly full. Fill the other 4 spaces with water to prevent burning.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the jamless part of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was gifted with a free jar of jam for sharing this recipe on the Jamtastic Facebook page.