Cinnamon and Gunpowder Muffins for CTB

I about screwed up. I was thinking I had until the end of December for this round of Cook the Books. Claudia from Honey from Rock is hosting Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown.  You can read her announcement post here.

The book has been on my bedside table for a couple of months.  I did start it.  I almost just sat this one out as it was actually Sunday, November 28, that I realized my error.   As a CTB co-host, however, I didn’t want to let  Claudia down so I threw together these muffins using gunpowder green tea and cinnamon.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder Muffins

Based on Apple-Cinnamon Tea Infused Muffins

The tea gives an earthy flavor to these muffins.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 T. loose gunpowder green tea
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated apples, about 1 apple

For topping:

  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or butter and set aside.
  3. Make the tea infused butter:    melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat.   When butter is melted, add the tea leaves.  Over low heat, let the tea and butter infuse for  five minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside for another few minutes. Using a fine meshed strainer or sieve, pour butter through and push on leaves, squeezing as much better as you can. Set aside.  (Discard tea leaves.)
  4. In a medium bowl, add flour, ¾ cup of sugar, baking powder, salt and 1 tsp. of cinnamon.  Whisk to combine.
  5. In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg.  Add milk, vanilla, and tea-infused butter.    Whisk to incorporate.
  6. Add the liquid ingredients and the apples to the dry ingredients.  Mix until just incorporated.
  7. Scoop batter into muffin cups, filling about ¾ of the way.
  8. Mix together the topping of cinnamon and sugar.  Top each muffin with about 1/2 t. topping.
  9. Bake for 20-23 minutes until slightly brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.
    Cool in pan, then remove and serve.

Yield: 7 jumbo muffins

So, at least I have a post ready to go.   I will say that I really had a hard time getting into this book.

I kept thinking of a bodice ripper that I read in the 8th grade (that was totally inappropriate for an early teen to read).   My best friend’s mom was totally into romance novels and every once in a while we would grab one from her stack.   The book that sticks in my memory involved a pirate who kidnaps a young woman from her home.   He “introduces” her to the pleasures of the flesh, they fall in love, and they live happily ever after.   (Really a totally inappropriate book on many levels….)

Even though the genders were reversed and the chef was not a virginal ingenue, I kept having flashbacks to heady sex scenes and bad writing.  

This is probably not the exact book I read so many years ago as a thirteen-year-old, but you get the gist of the novel from the cover.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder is not a bodice ripper.  The plot involves a female pirate captain, Mabbot,  and a chef (who she kidnaps after killing his employer).   Wedgewood, the chef, is guaranteed safety on the ship IF he can cook a weekly gourmet meal for the captain.   It’s a true test for Wedgewood as the larder on the ship is less than adequate.  Along with the strong female captain, there’s a host of other odd characters like Mr. Apples, twins Bai and Fung, Conrad (the current cook), and Joshua (a mute who Wedgewood teaches to read and write).

I loved Brown’s description of Mabbot, “like something from Shakespeare’s imagination” (14), with her need for fashion of tiger pelts and long red cloaks.

There seems to be lots of food in this novel and I have no doubt that Wedgewood will find a way to survive and thrive on this ship of misfits.

Please forgive me.  I will post a true review of the book when I finish it.  I have picked it back up (after I realized it was due at the end of November) and I am enjoying it.   Thanks, Claudia, for hosting and sorry for my tardiness (and not being prepared).   It feels like I’m back in school and am late for a book report assignment.  🙂


I won’t be late to the game for the December/January round because I am hosting.

I chose  Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger (June 2019).
An NPR review describes this work as a “book of hope” with Risbridger writing as echoing “Bridget Jones’ self-effacing wittiness, Julia Child’s companionable forgiveness and Sylvia Plath’s poetic prose.”
Midnight Chicken contains recipes with categories for breakfasts, soups & breads, picnics, “Storecupboard Suppers & Midnight Feasts,” weekend cooking, and “Sweet Things.” But, it’s also a poetic tale of hope and perseverance and savoring life.
You can read an announcement post soon on the Cook the Books site.

9 comments to Cinnamon and Gunpowder Muffins for CTB

  • Mae

    Your memories of 8th-grade reading are very amusing, and made me think of a long-forgotten bodice ripper (the title was “The Bride of something or other.”) I read it at about the age you were when you read the inappropriate book! You also intrigue me with the use of tea leaves as an ingredient: it sounds delicious and I’ve never tried it.

    best… mae at

  • I enjoyed Cinnamon and Gunpowder and I am enjoying Midnight Chicken; I am about a third of the way in. I love the fact that you found inspiration right in the title of the book. Great job.

  • I love cinnamon muffins! These look GOOD.

  • Oye! I thought I had another month. I started, too, then put it down. Drat. But I read “Midnight Chicken.” Post coming up this week!

  • i have that book on my TBR pile probably because i saw that you were reading it. I remember bodice rippers. very saucy!

  • Think I’ll give this book a miss. 🙂 Recipe looks pretty good, though. Thanks.

  • Fun how you took inspiration directly from the title! I’ve never tried gunpowder tea and am curious as to the taste??

  • cathy branciaroli

    If a baked dish has apples as an ingredient I’m in – that’s for sure

  • I am sorry you had to rush with the post but I enjoyed reading your special mix of memories and title-inspired muffins. I learned the expression “bodice ripper” which I had not heard before 🙂