If everyone in the world were like me, stores would start playing Christmas music on the autumnal equinox and keep it up until at least President’s Day. Christmas trees would be a permanent home fixtures, and lights and decorations would stay up all year round.
Also, things like Halloween, power tools, and the RNC would probably not exist.
It’s probably for the best that not everyone in the world is just like me, even if it does mean that every year I’m forced to endure the torturous wait until after Thanksgiving to get my Christmas on in full force. I like to look at it as a character-building exercise.
Lies. I don’t like to look at it that way, but I’m forced to.
Fortunately, now that Thanksgiving is behind us, I’m finally on the same page as the rest of the country’s white, Anglo-Saxon protestant population. Time to haul out (and by “haul out,” I mean “purchase for the first time”) the lights, garlands, and ornaments! Since this is Andy’s and my first Christmas together, we’ve had to do a bit of finagling to merge our respective holiday traditions. She’s into cookie decorating and live trees. I demand latkes and Christmas Eve viewings of The Muppet Christmas Carol (I grew up in an… alternative family).
Another Christmas MUST, of course, is making pomanders. I’m not sure why this is a tradition I fixate on, especially considering that my family really only did it one Christmas when I was still in single digits, but the scent of orange and cloves is still very evocative to me. Now that we have animals living with us, it’s not very practical to leave potentially edible things sitting around (especially now that we’re discovering Haven’s mild fascination with chewing), so what’s the next best way to get the apartment smelling like a pomander?
I am in love with these muffins. I was sorely tempted to do nothing but sit in front of the oven the entire time they were baking because of that heavenly pomander scent. The muffins themselves turned out light and fluffy (dare I say cupcake-y?) and, like all muffins, are best enjoyed straight out of the oven with a pat of soy-free Earth Balance.
Maybe you’re already in the holiday spirit. Maybe it’s taking you a little longer to get there this year. But if there’s anything that can put you in a caroling-and-wassailing mood faster than the toasty scent of cloves and oranges filling your kitchen, I’ve yet to discover it!
1 c nondairy milk
1 orange, zested and juiced
2/3 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 c all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill) *
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together nondairy milk and orange juice to curdle.
2. Pour sugar and orange zest onto a large plate and use a fork to work the zest into the sugar until fragrant. Add sugar mixture, oil, and vanilla to milk mixture and stir to combine.
3. Add dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) and mix until thoroughly combined.
4. Pour batter into a greased muffin tin, filling wells 3/4 of the way full. If you want, dust a little extra ground cloves over the muffins before baking. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
* You can probably get by subbing an equal amount of all-purpose flour if gluten is your scene, though I obviously haven’t tried.