Have you ever been to New York? You know, the city where you can get anything.
Except a decent corn muffin. Oh, there are muffins aplenty here. You’ll see them in carts, in storefronts, adorning the countertops of every deli and coffee shop. You can’t miss them because they are huge. Lift one and you risk a hernia. Not only are they gigantic, but they have the flavor of sawdust. Your only hope is in your own kitchen.
And that help is very readily found in The Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon. She’s titled these “Simple Corn Muffins” but I don’t think “simple” is the right word. Elegant, wonderful, right-sized, perfect-textured. Those are the proper ways to describe these delicious creatures.
Fresh from the oven, adorned with butter and slathered with honey, it’s a grand breakfast. You really don’t need that bacon or sausage on the side. Just a good espresso. Quickly made, these muffins may be as quickly devoured.
Oh, they do freeze. Just in case.
Simple Corn Muffins
Yield: one dozen
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup melted butter
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with oil, or line with muffin papers.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl, stirring well. Set aside.
Whisk together the buttermilk and baking soda in a medium bowl until the baking soda is dissolved. Whisk in the eggs, sugar, and melted butter or oil.
Stir the combined wet ingredients into the dry until the mixture is just barely combined. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin.
Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Source: The Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon
A few days ago, I posted a recipe for chipotle cornbread to use in stuffing. Cornbread recipes came, literally, in all flavors. And all cultures have adopted cornbreads. In Greece, they make cornbreads called bobota. The Greeks thankfully bear us gifts. Cornbread can be dry. You’ve surely had some that seem to be as delicate as hay. Hence, the rage to add all kinds of things to improve cornbread flavor and texture: honey, creamed corn, peppers, onions, bacon, … You see some creamed corn kernels in that picture above.
The Greek solution for making cornbread delicious is to add flavor and liquid. This orange-honey syrup is made and poured into holes that have been poked in a freshly baked bobota. The result is sticky. And sweet. You don’t need butter when you do this, but you are of course free to add it on. And, you don’t need a bobota either. You can employ this syrup with any cornbread.
We’ve used this syrup with the chipotle cornbread to produce a rich amalgam of flavors. This is definitely finger lickin’.
This recipe calls for the juice of one orange, plus enough water to make 1 cup. I prefer not to have any water and simply make it all juice. It’s stickier and sweeter.
This recipe is from the Cornbread Gospels, a book I have fallen in love with. It’s winter here in New York, really winter. Cornbread can put a smile on your face for breakfast, as a side at lunch, and surely at dinner. You’ll see some more wonderful ideas from Cornbread Gospels over the coming cold months.
Orange Honey Syrup
Yield: 1 ½ cups
- ½ cup honey
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Juice from one orange plus water to equal 1 cup
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange, preferably organic
- 6 whole cloves
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is a thin syrup, about 4 minutes. Let the syrup cool to room temperature. Remove the cloves and pour the syrup over the cornbread.
Source: Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon