I have to admit, no matter what you call this stuff — corn muffins, cornbread, pone, Johnnycakes — how you cook it — skillet fried, deep fried, on a griddle or in tiny muffin liners — or what a cinch they are to make — think “Jiffy” — the stuff kind of stresses me out, and it’s because there are a thousand different ways to make it and all of them are the “right” or “only” way to someone. When people tell you they like cornbread, they have something very specific in mind and it’s up to you to figure out what it is. I’m no different. Alongside barbeque or crumbled over my chili, anything less that that which is made in a bacon-greased cast iron pan with or without the jalapenos and cheddar just doesn’t seem authentic. But when it comes to breakfast muffins, I want the cakier, sweeter, oh I’ll say it, Northern version, but with just enough grit in them that I don’t feel like I’m eating dessert for my first meal of the day.
Dorie gets this. Truth be told, I’d probably two-thirds the sugar next time, but in every other way, this recipe is a keeper. Not too dessert-like, just the right crumb and a super-cinch to make, this is the most glowing success I’ve had getting corn muffins to meet my corn muffin expectations in a while. The fresh corn is an extra reminder that this is breakfast, not dessert. Toasted with a pat of salted butter even two days later, I find it impossible not to like.
What? You just want to talk about Cinco De Mayo? It seems that my trip to Mexico and the flavor-fiending that has followed couldn’t be better timed, as my favorite excuse for margaritas–besides it being a day that ends in a ‘y’–falls this year on a Saturday, making it all the more fabulous excuse for a big party. If you’re still looking for some inspiration, here are some ideas from the archives:
- Chicken Empanadas with Chorizo and Olives
- Chicken Tacos
- Tequila Lime Chicken
- Black Bean Confetti Salad
- Fish Tacos
- DebÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Three-Bean Chili
- Corn Bread with Cheddar, Jalapeno and Green Onions
- Green Onion Slaw
- Salsa Fresca
- Blood Orange Margaritas
- The Tart Marg
- Margarita Cookies
- Key Lime Tartlets
Dorie Greenspan’s Corniest Corn Muffins
Baking from My Home to Yours
Yield: 12 regular-sized muffins or 48 miniature ones
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons corn oil (I used olive oil since it was handy)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup corn kernels (add up to 1/3 cup more if you’d like) – fresh, frozen or canned (in which case they should be drained and patted dry)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan 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.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, if you’re using it. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, egg and yolk together until well blended. 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 the way it should be. Stir in the corn kernels. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes (12 minutes for minis), 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.