Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Perfect Corn Muffins

Perfect Corn Muffins



PHOTO TUTORIAL  |  PRINTABLE RECIPE  |  HUNGRY FOR TIPS?

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."

Corn Muffins, After Baking

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.

Perfect Corn Muffins Closeup

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?

Photo Tutorial

4x3 Nonstick Muffin Pan
Thoroughly grease a 3x4 non-stick muffin pan with organic shortening.

8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
Melt 8 Tablespoons of unsalted butter.

Melted Butter
I use the microwave at 50% power to melt the butter. Let the butter cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Stone Ground Yellow Cornmeal
Measure 1 cup of yellow stone-ground cornmeal.

Dry Ingredients in Sifter
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.

Sifted Ingredients in Bowl with Sugar
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

Adding Sugar to Dry Ingredients
Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar.

Dry Ingredients Whisked Together
Thoroughly whisk together the dry ingredients.

1/4 Cup Honey
Measure 1/4 cup honey.

Measuring Sour Cream
Add 1/4 cup organic sour cream.

3/4 Cup Buttermilk
Add 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk.

Adding Kosher Salt
Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Eggs Added to Wet Ingredients
Add 2 large eggs.

Wet Ingredients Beaten Together
Beat together the wet ingredients with a fork until well combined.

Wet Ingrediets Added to Dry
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry.

Muffin Batter Whisked Together
Whisk to moisten everything, but it's ok if there are still lumps.

Melted Butter Added to Muffin Batter
Add the melted butter to the batter.

Ingredients Folded Together
Whisk in the butter until just combined. Let the batter rest 3 minutes.

Scooping Muffin Batter in Muffin Cups
Using an ice cream scoop, portion out the batter into the muffin pan.

Corn Muffins Sprinkled with Sugar
Sprinkle the muffin tops with granulated sugar.

Corn Muffins, After Baking
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.

Corn Muffins, Cooling
Turn out the muffins onto a wire rack to cool or serve immediately.

Perfect Corn Muffins
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

    by Javelin Warrior
     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
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉ and grease a 3x4 muffin pan with shortening
  2. Into a large bowl, sift together cornmeal, flours, baking powder, baking soda and allspice; whisk in the sugar
  3. In a large measuring cup, beat together the honey, sour cream, buttermilk, eggs and salt until well combined
  4. 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
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, portion the batter into the prepared muffin pan; sprinkle the tops of the muffins with granulated sugar
  6. 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.
Powered by Recipage



STORY  |  PHOTO TUTORIAL  |  PRINTABLE RECIPE

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.

    1/3 Cup Organic Shortening
     
  • 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.

    Swans Down Cake Flour Box
     
  • 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.

    Organic Sour Cream
     
  • 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.

    Corn Muffins Sprinkled with Sugar
     
  • 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.

    Melted Butter Added to Muffin Batter



Scan to view recipe on your mobile device




12 comments:

  1. Oh how sweet of you. =) your corn muffins should really have made it up by now. hm I have polenta here and I think it's the same, maybe the flavor differs a tiny bit but I think I could follow your recipe. Your muffins do look exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)June 19, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Awww what a sweet boyfriend!!! These corn muffins look super tasty

    ReplyDelete
  3. You should be able to use polenta to make muffins very similar to these, Helene - the polenta may be ground a bit finer so the texture may change slightly, but the end result should be similar. I've never tried it though and I should :) Thanks for the kind words and if you do try polenta, let me know how it turns out!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know, he really is sweet... I won't comment on the corn muffins because anything more I say at this point is just redundant praise ;) Thanks for the kind words, Kayle...

    ReplyDelete
  5. How very interesting! Your photo tutorial throws up some totally new things for me. Like that butter - all separated into tbsp's! Never seen that before. Nor have I seen specific cake flour like that! On a side note, I am also a novice at this corn bread with savoury food lark. To me, it seems very American. Slightly sweet bread type thing with savoury food? I am nervous but fascinated. You have offered up such a great recipe and lovely story behind it that I am truly tempted to try it. I am bookmarking it. I am thinking corn bread with BBQ'd chicken? Is that right? xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Anneli, and thanks for the kind words. The butter over here is almost always wrapped in papers with measurements for Tablespoons. And the sweet/savory thing I guess is kind of an American thing, but you're exactly right. BBQ'd chicken (or ribs) are very commonly paired with cornbread and it's one of my favorite combos. The other is cornbread/muffins with baked beans or chile. Such a delicious comfort!

    ReplyDelete
  7. kellie@foodtoglowJune 25, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Ooh, we'll have to agree to differ. Although I'm originally from the Deep South, I like my cornbread unsweetened (like my tea!), with sharp cheddar, jalapenos and creamed corn. I haven't heard of using sour cream but I can see how the richness would appeal. Great instructions. And sweet story. You guys sound so sweet together

    ReplyDelete
  8. kellie@foodtoglowJune 25, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Sorry to butt in but I do use maizemeal which is more like polenta. It comes in white or yellow, fine, medium or coarse. I get it in the ethnic section of larger UK supermarkets or Asian shops. It's always cheaper than polenta.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for sharing, Kellie - that's a great tip and I've never looked for maizemeal but I'd like to try it...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sorry for not responding to your comment sooner MJ. Disqus apparently hasn't been sending thru notifications to me when new people post comments so I only see if I randomly check the post. Very annoying. Anyway, I'm so glad you enjoyed the corn muffins and I think it is funny how muffins vs. cornbread can be sweet or savory. Personally, I like both sweetened which is kind of funny cause I'm not the sweet tooth normally... If you give these a try, let me know how they turn out for you...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sorry for the delay in my response to your comment, John. It seems Disqus hasn't been delivering comments and I'm discovering a whole bunch of comments all over I've never seen :( Anyway, so glad you enjoyed the corn muffin post and if you get a chance to try them, let me know how they turn out for you...

    ReplyDelete
  12. lol we can agree to disagree on this :) I know a lot of folks who prefer cornbread/muffins unsweetened (or at least not sweet). And while I do love cheddar/jalapeno cornbread, to me it's an entirely different animal...

    ReplyDelete