We leave Friday morning, early, and we’re driving across Belgium into France, to Calais. From Calais, we are taking the ferry across the English Channel to Dover.
Across the freaking English Channel.
I can’t even.
I’m going to see the White Cliffs of Dover. I must be dreaming.
We’re spending two days in Oxford before heading to London for a week.
For a WEEK.
Seriously, this is what I do. I sit around and repeat to myself that we’re going to London. I repeat it to myself in small, incomplete sentences, highlighted with italicized words, all caps, and emphatic punctuation.
Usually, it’s accompanied by flailing.
What? It’s not like I can even control myself.
The best part about this is that it’s basically an all-out Harry Potter fest. While we’re in Oxford, we’re visiting Christ Church to see various HP film inspirations, and visit the dining hall, which inspired the Great Hall at Hogwarts. We’re also going to the Bodleian Library, where some Hogwarts library scenes were filmed, as well as infirmary scenes. Then, we’re off to London to visit King’s Cross Station and Platform 9 3/4, the location used for the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, as well as the inspiration for Diagon Alley, and, of course, we are going to the Warner Brothers Studio Tours at Leavesden.
None of this even covers the regular old AMAZINGNESS of the other London sights we’re going to see.
I wish I could pack you all up and take you with me. As it is, all I have to offer you is crazy delicious gingerbread muffins. I know it’s pretty small consolation, but I’m not lying to you when I say they are crazy delicious. They really are.
I mean, the crunchy, cinnamon-y streusel-y goodness with chocolate also?! Forget it. I added a lot of the streusel to the muffins. Cause I put some inside them, too…but there just as great with all of the streusel on top.
I mean, I guess you could skip it. I’ll probably judge you, though.
with Chocolate Cinnamon Streusel
Makes about 12 standard muffins
FOR THE STREUSEL
1/4 cup (64 grams) brown sugar
1/4 cup (32 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons (about 15 grams) unsalted butter, melted (or margarine for vegan/dairy free*)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
FOR THE MUFFINS
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sour cream
FOR THE ICING
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
To make the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and cocoa powder together, whisking until thoroughly combined. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and stir with a spoon until you have a mixture that resembles lumpy wet sand. Do not break up the clumps too much.
Cover and chill until ready to use.
To make the muffins: Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan; set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg until combined, about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is thick and thoroughly combined. Stir in the vanilla and molasses. Slowly whisk the butter into the mixture until combined. Add half the sour cream, whisking until just combined, repeat with the remaining sour cream.
Add the flour to the sour cream mixture and fold with a spatula until the batter comes together (do not overmix).
Evenly divide the batter in between the cups of the muffin pan (about 2 1/2 tablespoons of batter per cup). Evenly distribute the streusel over the tops of the muffins. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until light golden brown in color, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before icing.
To make the icing: While the muffins are baking, combine the sugar, cream, and vanilla in a medium bowl, and whisk until thoroughly mixed.
Drizzle over the muffins before serving.
Recipe by Darla