You can ask me but I honestly can’t give you answer: Why on earth, of all things, would I have a sudden urge to stuff myself with things made of cornmeal? I don’t know, I don’t know. However I have to be honest with you… I liked it.
I’m glad that I’m having these kinds of cravings to balance out my propensity to stock my pantry with cornmeal, even before I finish the old packet. I’m hoping to correct that, but I cannot be blamed for all the baked goodies I imagine myself making every time I pass by a box of these yellow sandy crystals. It seems only logical to make sure I have enough cornmeal to make all of them.
Next to regular old cornbread, I figured the easiest thing that would vanquish my craving would be to make muffins. It’s basically a one-bowl deal– mix, scoop, and pop into the oven. I’ve made a couple of cornmeal quick breads before, and all of them turned out really well– favourites in one way or another actually. I wanted to go find another recipe to add to my growing list of well-loved cornmeal treats.
I discovered after having these Dorie Greenspan muffins that I like savory cornbreads just a little bit more than the sweet or plain kind. These ones look prettily bejeweled, and were particularly scrumptious with all the peppers, cilantro, and corn, not to mention the slight hint of chili. I can imagine eating this as a side to steak, with a little bit of gravy. The muffins smell and taste a little like pizza too. Eat with hot sauce, why not?
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup corn kernels (add up to 3 tablespoons more if you’d like)–fresh, frozen or canned (in which case they should be drained and patted dry)
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded, deveined and finely diced
- 1/4 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined and finely diced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
- 2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, chili powder, salt, baking soda and black pepper. Set aside.
- 3. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter and egg yolk together until well blended.
- 4. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough–the batter will be lumpy, and that’s just way it should be.
- 5. Stir in the corn kernels, jalapeño, red pepper and cilantro. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
- 6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.
- Serving: These are particularly good served warm and still very good at room temperature. As a morning muffin, they’re good with butter; for lunch or supper, try them with red pepper jelly or salsa.
- Storing: Best served the day they are made, these can be kept covered overnight and split and toasted the next day. They can also be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months. Rewarm in a 350°F (180°C) oven, if you’d like, or split and toast them.
And because I was on a roll (umm… Crazy Cornmeal Lady Alert?), I went on ahead and made another recipe from Dorie’s book, her Cornmeal and Fruit Loaf. Although it wasn’t something that wowed me, it was nonetheless pleasant to eat in the afternoons. I really love the sweet grittiness provided by the cornmeal, possibly in anything.
To give you an idea of how it tastes, the presence of the apples and the almonds add both a light sweetness and a fragrance. I imagine using peaches (maybe even canned ones patted dry) in place of apples would have elevated this loaf to quite something else. Mmmm… peaches. Anyway, you can check out the recipe here!
I have to confess that after making this loaf, I found myself suddenly craving for the bold and cinnamon-y flavour of apple pie. Being around apple things sometimes does that to me. Guess you know what I’ll be making in the coming days! I already have a particular apple pie recipe in mind, one that I’ve been itching to try for a while. Stay tuned!