I think that we might travel a lot compared to other people. At least we used to, definitely. After we graduated from UK, Brett moved back home to PA for his job, and I found a job in Northern Indiana. We made it a point to go no longer than 3 weeks without seeing each other, so we would go on mini weekend vacations together to exotic places like Lexington, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, Milwaukee, and once to San Francisco. But most often, I ended up flying the 650 miles between us to Philadelphia (because really, who wants to go to Northern Indiana?). Between all the driving and flying I was doing, there were a lot of meals eaten at the airport or in the car on my way out of Indiana. I figured out all the best airports to have a layover in (Detroit and Charlotte), and the best exits to stop at for shopping (always at Trader Joe’s in Indianapolis, and the TJ Maxx across the street is the best I’ve ever been to), the cheapest gas, and the best food.
Starbucks is usually the most consistent place you will find while traveling. It’s consistently pricey, yes, and even more so at an airport or turnpike rest stop, but you know that you’re getting more thoughtful food than most fast food, and it’s about as common a travel option these days as KFC and McDonalds, but with far better options. While I rarely go to Starbucks outside of traveling, my standard Grande Soy Peppermint Latte is always thoroughly enjoyed while waiting out the inevitable flight delay.
The past few times we had Starbucks, they’ve had a Lemon Ginger muffin that is one of the best baked goods I’ve had from the chain. I’m not a huge ginger fan, but I’ve been on a lemon kick ever since I worked in the yogurt biz, so I was drawn to it immediately. It’s dense and chewy, with small chunks of candied ginger laced throughout the muffin. As all muffins go, the top’s the best part, with a sweet and slightly crunchy crumble topping. I’ve gotten it at least the last 3 times I’ve been at the ‘Bucks, and each time thought about how I’d like to make a similar muffin. I finally did, and a good thing too, because I can’t find anything about it online, and can only assume Starbucks stopped making it, along with my very favorite banana pound cake.
These muffins aren’t quite as dense and chewy as the muffin I remember, but a lighter, fluffier version that I can eat while sitting at home drinking coffee next to my husband, instead of traveling 6 hours to see him. I like that much better.
Glazed Lemon Ginger Crumble Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup candied ginger
Zest from 1 large lemon
1 cup sugar
10 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (I used 1% fat)
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4-1 cup powdered sugar
To make crumble topping:
Mix flour and sugar together in a small bowl. Add butter cubes and cut them into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fingers, until it resembles coarse meal. Set aside.
To make lemon glaze:
Combine lemon juice and sugar until desired glaze consistency is reached. Set aside.
To make muffins:
Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.
Finely chop the candied ginger (with a knife or with a food processor), leaving some larger chunks.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time until just incorporated. Mix in the lemon zest and candied ginger.
Add dry ingredients and yogurt alternately, mixing each addition until just incorporated. Do not over-beat.
Pour batter into prepared standard muffin tins until 2/3 full. Sprinkle some crumble topping on each muffin. Bake on the center rack of a preheated 375 degree oven for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.
Using a pastry brush, apply glaze to each muffin. The hot muffins will absorb some of the glaze, so as the muffins cool, you can apply more glaze as desired.
Yield: 18 muffins