I’m no Southerner. I like my corn muffins New Jersey diner style, slightly sweet and a little cakey. Split and griddled in butter to boot.
Most of the corn muffin recipes I’ve come across are too dry, too bland, have too much extra crap in them like frozen corn kernels, canned creamed corn, cheese, jalapeños, etc. That’s fine for other times, but it wasn’t what I was craving.
I asked for help finding a quality corn muffin recipe, and many suggestions rolled in. I took a look at them and then formulated my plan.
One recipe called for creaming the butter, shortening and sugar like you were baking cookies; but it was closest to what I was looking for. However, my butter was frozen and I don’t really use vegetable shortening. I decided to go with melted browned butter because browned butter makes everything taste better.
So with the Pixies as my background music this morning, I made muffins.
12 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups sifted flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
*if you can find freshly ground cornmeal at a farmers market, all the better
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of half & half
Preheat your oven to 400. Line a muffin tin with papers or butter them.
Put your butter in a pot and melt. Once melted, stir constantly and watch for it to brown. It will go through stages. First it will get foamy as the milk solids are rendered, then they will start to caramelize. Watch the butter closely so you don’t burn it. Once it’s a nice deep brown, pour butter into a bowl and allow to cool a bit while you prep your other ingredients.
Mix dry ingredients together. Set aside.
Mix wet ingredients together. Pour into dry ingredients, whisking until dry ingredients are just moistened. Don’t overmix, or you’ll get tough not tender muffins.
Divide between the 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
**You could make one cornbread. Butter an 8×8 pan, an pour the batter into that. Baking should still take about 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can heat a cast iron skillet on the stovetop, toss a chunk of butter into the skillet and pour your cornbread batter into that. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Let cool briefly, otherwise muffin papers will stick, and enjoy!