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Fear Conquered: Corn Muffins
"I really want Boston Market," I plead.
Boyfriend Javelin, looking out through the back car window, sighs deeply. "I really don't feel like Boston Market," he says, swinging the steering wheel around to guide the back end of the car out onto the street. He shifts and steps on the gas. "I don't like any of their sides."
"The cornbread's good," I say. Because that's the real reason I always want Boston Market. That, and their mac and cheese.
"I don't really like it," he insists. "Their cornbread's too sweet. They're like little corn cakes."
Which is exactly why I like them. Blissful little corn cakes. I grin at him and shake my head. "I thought things can never be too sweet for you."
"Then they're not sweet enough!" he almost snaps, half-glaring. We're paused at a stoplight and he shrugs at me. "I don't know. There's just something I don't like about them. They don't taste like anything."
15 minutes later, slipping into a booth with our trays of Boston Market chicken and sides, Boyfriend Javelin slides his cornbread onto my tray. "I don't want it," he says. And I feel awful. Me with my two pieces of cornbread.
That was five years ago. And these muffins are my apology to him for all the trips to Boston Market. For always indulging my craving for little corn cakes. For always putting up with my demands. For always putting me first, even when it means putting himself second.
I think these muffins are a worthy apology. They're made from scratch, they're tailored to Boyfriend Javelin's every nuanced preference and we'll never have to visit Boston Market again. Ever.
Even if you love Boston Market, these muffins are amazing. They're sweet without losing the corn flavor. They're soft inside but still crispy on the outside. They're packed with flavor. They're even moist. So you won't gag on dry, gritty corn crumbs. I think these are quite possibly the best corn muffins on the planet. But then I'm biased. I am trying to apologize and all.
Special shout-out to MJ from MJ's Kitchen. Thanks to MJ's Buttermilk Cornbread recipe, I finally got the courage to try using buttermilk in corn muffins and I love the results and flavor!
STORY | PRINTABLE RECIPE | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
|Thoroughly grease a 3x4 non-stick muffin pan with organic shortening.|
|Melt 8 Tablespoons of unsalted butter.|
|I use the microwave at 50% power to melt the butter. Let the butter cool while you prepare the other ingredients.|
|Measure 1 cup of yellow stone-ground cornmeal.|
|To a sifter, add the cornmeal, 1/2 cup cake flour, 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, 4 teaspoons baking power and 3/4 teaspoon baking soda.|
|Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.|
|Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar.|
|Thoroughly whisk together the dry ingredients.|
|Measure 1/4 cup honey.|
|Add 1/4 cup organic sour cream.|
|Add 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk.|
|Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt.|
|Add 2 large eggs.|
|Beat together the wet ingredients with a fork until well combined.|
|Pour the wet ingredients into the dry.|
|Whisk to moisten everything, but it's ok if there are still lumps.|
|Add the melted butter to the batter.|
|Whisk in the butter until just combined. Let the batter rest 3 minutes.|
|Using an ice cream scoop, portion out the batter into the muffin pan.|
|Sprinkle the muffin tops with granulated sugar.|
|Bake the muffins at 425F for 15 minutes until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 2 minutes before turning out.|
|Turn out the muffins onto a wire rack to cool or serve immediately.|
|Corn muffins are best if eaten the day they are made. They can also be frozen for up to a month.|
STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Perfect Corn Muffins
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Ingredients (12 muffins)
- 1 cup yellow stone-ground cornmeal
- 1/2 cup unbleached cake flour
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup organic sour cream
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Organic shortening, for greasing pans
- Preheat the oven to 425℉ and grease a 3x4 muffin pan with shortening
- Into a large bowl, sift together cornmeal, flours, baking powder, baking soda and allspice; whisk in the sugar
- In a large measuring cup, beat together the honey, sour cream, buttermilk, eggs and salt until well combined
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry and gently whisk together until everything is just moistened (but still lumpy); whisk in the melted butter, then let the batter rest for 3 minutes
- Using an ice cream scoop, portion the batter into the prepared muffin pan; sprinkle the tops of the muffins with granulated sugar
- Bake the muffins for 15 minutes, then remove the muffins from the oven and let rest in the pan for 2 minutes before turning out; serve immediately
An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2013 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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Hungry for Tips?
- Shortening: Always grease your muffin pans when you're making corn muffins. Even if you own the very best non-stick pans money can buy, grease them. And don't bother with the little paper liners - unless you enjoy using your teeth to scrape off the remains of the corn muffin from the papers. I use organic shortening to grease my pans, but you could also try a non-stick spray.
- Cake Flour: Cake flour is really what keeps the insides of these muffins super soft. I love the contrast of the crispy outer muffin with the soft inner crumb. In a pinch if you don't have cake flour, you can use all purpose flour instead: just remove 2 Tablespoons of flour per measured cup and add 2 Tablespoons of corn starch.
- Sour Cream: I've tried so many different ingredients to keep these muffins perfectly moist. And the only one that seems to do the trick is sour cream. Greek yogurt kind of works. Buttermilk kind of works. Applesauce kind of works. Butter kind of works. But sour cream is the best. I prefer organic sour cream, but a dollop of Daisy will work just fine.
- Sugar: There is sugar AND honey in these corn muffins. And yes, they are a bit sweet. Not quite as sweet as a cupcake, but still sweet. I find the honey adds a subtle background flavor to the muffins and the granulated sugar helps to improve the inner and outer texture. And if you love a perfectly crispy top on your muffin (like me), then don't skip the final sprinkle of sugar before baking.
- Allspice: Just like the honey, allspice adds a subtle smoothness to the flavor of these muffins. But don't worry, they don't tasty like allspice or some kind of holiday pie. If you don't have allspice in your pantry, leave it out (or better yet, pick up a bottle of allspice and try it both ways).
- Butter: Always mix in the butter AFTER you have moistened all of the dry ingredients with the buttermilk/egg mixture. If you stir the butter into the dry ingredients first, the butter will coat the flours and cornmeal and prevent the wet ingredients from fully softening the batter during the 3 minute rest.
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