The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Shelbyville News”. By: Blaise Doubman.
Favorite Corn Muffins
For years I would not eat cornbread or corn muffins because I just did not enjoy the taste or texture of them. I would watch as my Grandma Barbra would painstakingly make her batter from scratch and pour the batter into her mother’s old cast iron corn shaped molds, before baking them in the oven. They would always look and smell good, but I never really was very fond of the taste or texture. That is, until almost a year ago when, unexpectedly, my taste buds did a complete 180-degree turnaround! What happened? Who knows? All I know is that my taste buds changed, for seemingly the first time in my life, and suddenly I loved corn bread, pickles, hot sauce, bacon, coconut, pepperoni and other things I had avoided for most all of my life. It was an odd, unexpected thing but looking back on it now, it was really a surprise joy because I enjoy so many more foods now than I did before. Right before my Grandma Barbra passed, and even my Grandma Deloris for that matter, I discussed this with both of them and their answers were the same. My taste buds had changed because I was finally “growing up”! Ha! I found that hilarious. My Grandma Barbra was really impressed with the sudden need I had in my life to eat “all the bacon all the time”. She said that was a “smart” gene kicking in. She loved bacon and often told me she could “eat in her weight” in the delicious stuff.
When coming around to develop my own recipes for the foods that I had never really enjoyed most of my life, it was a fun challenge. I developed recipes for my first ever German Chocolate Cake with a creamy caramel and pecan frosting and even a cupcake version of the same flavors. I also developed recipes for cooking bacon in the oven, the fastest and easiest way, as well as developing recipes for my own takes on different types and flavors of pickles. When it came to developing my recipe for corn muffins though, it was more of a challenge. Some people like a sweet cornbread while other people like a more savory cornbread. I wanted a recipe that would be pleasing to both types of people, have lots of familiar flavor and be simple to make and this recipe fits all of those points and more. These corn muffins are deliciously familiar in taste, with just the right texture and crumb. These are perfect on their own, as a snack, served with breakfast and eggs or served with dinner and chili. Feel free to add a little bacon grease in place of the vegetable oil and feel free to sprinkle the top with a little shredded cheese before baking. This recipe has a permanent place in my recipe files, and I hope that it will for you too.
Favorite Corn Muffins
These can be made with all-purpose white or yellow cornmeal. If you do not have self-rising flour you can make your own by combining 1 cup white all-purpose flour with 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. If you do not have buttermilk you can make your own by measuring out the milk and adding a splash of white vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. The white granulated sugar added to this recipe makes a sweet cornbread. If you prefer a more savory cornbread, simply leave out the sugar.
1 cup all-purpose yellow cornmeal
½ cup self-rising flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups buttermilk
Start by adding ½ teaspoon of vegetable oil in each cup of your standard size 12-cup muffin tin. Place this into the oven and preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl whisk together the all-purpose yellow cornmeal, self-rising flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and white granulated sugar.
Add in the large egg, melted unsalted butter and the buttermilk. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Once the batter has rested and the oven is preheated, remove the prepared muffin tin. Carefully divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups.
Place in the oven and allow to bake for 20 minutes.
Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before removing.
Serve hot, warm, room temperature or cool. Store in airtight container for up to 3 days.
Ask and Answer: I get a lot of questions about how to take regular chocolate chip cookies and turn the flavor volume up, so I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to add flavor to your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. First, always chill the dough for at least 12 hours. This really gives the ingredients time to blend together for a tastier cookie. Also experiment with different extracts. Try a peppermint extract, a butter extract or a drop of an almond extract. It will add that little special back note flavor in your cookie that will be an unexpected surprise. Also try adding a pinch of ground cinnamon, nutmeg or mace to your cookies. You can also really step your cookie game up, by making a buttercream filling to sandwich your cookies together with to create a “cookie sandwich” that is always sure to please!