My recipe uses a lot less sugar than most. Feel free to add up to an additional 1/2 cup of sugar if you want it sweeter. It's not very traditional, but a nice touch is to grate a little orange zest into the batter. A pinch of pepper is good, too.
This recipe is easily multiplied. The jar pictured above held just shy of one recipe.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
(optional: orange zest and freshly ground pepper)
Pinch ground cloves
In a bowl with a wooden spoon or using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, spices, and salt. If you want, you can add a little freshly grated orange peel and some pepper from a few turns of the pepper mill.
For gifts: Pack into a clean glass jar (or even tupperware if that's more your vibe), label and keep in the refrigerator. Give as a gift along with mixing instructions, a bottle of dark rum and maybe a pair of mugs.
To drink immediately: Dollop about 2 tablespoons of the batter into a small mug. Pour in 2 ounces of rum, top with boiling water, stir, and enjoy!
To save for later: Pack batter into a container, cover and keep in the refrigerator. It will turn hard, but you can scoop it into your serving mugs with a little ice-cream scoop. Or if you have time, let it soften a little on the counter. You can also form the batter into a log on a sheet of waxed paper, seal by twisting the ends, and chill. Remove from the refrigerator, slice into 8 pieces, rewrap, and return to the refrigerator or freezer.
(Image: Dana Velden)