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Snow Day Baking

December 8, 2009

“Snow days” are a time-honored tradition here in the Midwest.  As a kid, I remember the joy at waking up naturally – without an alarm clock or my mom’s call – to realize that school should have already started and there was a blanket of white outside.  YESSS!  A snow day! 

IMG_1979Rarely do we get such a treat as adults; usually forced to pile on the snow gear, shovel the driveway, and risk our lives getting across town to work.  This morning, with three inches of snow already on the ground and another 6-10 predicted during the day, the Air Force base where my husband and I work is closed.  So we are warm and dry!  I worked from my laptop for a few hours (and got way more accomplished than I’m sure I would have in the office) and then shut-down to practice my own personal snow-day tradition.

Stuck inside with only daytime TV and books to keep us company, my sisters and I always used to celebrate snow days by baking a batch of cookies.  I didn’t have cookies in mind today, though.  One of my favorite places, Jason’s Deli, has delicious mini gingerbread muffins on their salad bar.  They are not too sweet and very moist.  I had been looking for a recipe to re-create them…but then I came across this recipe for Mini Pumpkin-Gingerbread Cupcakes.  It was close enough and – bonus! – includes pumpkin, one of my favorite ingredients.  IMG_1976

I’m usually way too lazy to make frosting, but I gave this Maple Cream Cheese Frosting a try since I had half a brick of cream cheese in the fridge that needed a use.  Unfortunately, I am out of maple syrup and I don’t think I’ve ever had maple extract in my cupboard, so I subbed agave and vanilla extract.  It’s not nearly as sweet as traditional cream cheese frosting – which I appreciate – and is more cream cheesey…I don’t know if everyone would like it, but I do!  

These cupcakes/muffins (what is the difference really?!) are delicious with or without the frosting and with or without a side of winter wonderland!

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