Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sweet Corn Muffins

This is the third corn muffin recipe we've tried out since starting Sugar Pies. Of course, recipes for cornbread and corn muffins are a dime a dozen. You'll find all sorts of things thrown into them from peppers to bacon to cheese to canned corn. I'm sure there's probably somebody out there making them with chocolate or something. After all, if Denny's can serve up a chocolate bacon sundae (the thought makes me a little nauseated) then anything is possible I suppose.

This corn muffin recipe began life as Ina Garten's. I liked her fairly simple and straightforward, albeit "Yankeefied" version of classic cornbread muffins. After trying the ridiculously complicated yeast version from Cook's Illustrated, I was looking for something a little more "back to basics." However, looking at Ina's recipe I felt it needed something else. There was a lot of butter in it, which is not a bad thing, but I thought I might be able to tame that a little bit by subbing in some canola oil. I also felt that if I cut a little of the cholesterol out with the canola oil I'd have room for something that was sure to give the muffins a little je ne sais quoi - bacon grease. I can hear the food nazis out there gasp, "Bacon grease, oh no!" Well, bacon grease compliments the flavors of corn bread and corn muffins beautifully. Adding a scant 2-3 tablespoons to the batter doesn't make you say "Oh, these have bacon grease!" rather, it is a very subtle flavor that lingers in the background and gives the muffins depth. A dash of cayenne pepper adds another mysterious flavor note.

I really loved the way these turned out and even Michael enjoyed them, although he thought they could have been smaller. I baked these in the jumbo muffin tins which make 12 muffins. However, if you're like Michael and want your corn muffins a little smaller, you can use a regular sized tin and come out with about 18-24.

These corn muffins are just on the sweet side thanks to the sugar but the corn meal flavor still shines through and thanks to the two "secret" ingredients these have a great depth of flavor that will keep you coming back for more.

: Sweet Corn Muffins
: Perfect sweet corn muffins for breakfast or dinner with two "secret" ingredients that kick them up a notch!

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2-3 tbs. bacon grease
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal (stone ground if available)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line jumbo muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In small heat proof bowl, melt butter in microwave. Add canola oil and bacon grease and set aside to cool slightly while preparing other ingredients.
  3. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment add flour, corn meal, baking powder, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix until combined.
  4. Add egg and yolk and mix until combined. Add butter, oil and grease and mix. Add milk and water and mix just until batter is smooth. Complete mixing with spatula to be sure all ingredients are incorporated from bottom of bowl.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until tops of muffins are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly then remove to wire rack.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

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