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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Honey Cornbread Muffins

I love multiple iterations of a holiday. You know, when you celebrate the same holiday several times in a given season? Take Thanksgiving, for example. I just celebrated it (with friends) last week, and I’ll be celebrating it again (with family) next week. In my family, because of everyone’s schedules and obligations, it isn’t unusual to celebrate Christmas, and then “Second Christmas” and occasionally “Third Christmas.” As an avid baker and budding chef, I relish the multiple opportunities to not only make the staples that people expect year after year, but also to change things up a bit or try out new recipes. Multiple holiday celebrations are like gigantic experiments where I can field test different creations.

Every year, my friends and I have our own Thanksgiving, typically one or two weeks before the real deal. This year was my first time hosting, since it was mine and my husband’s first November as a married couple (and the first where we had our own place). Traditionally in my circle of friends, the host provides the turkey, while the bulk of the side dishes are provided pot-luck style by the guests.

This was a daunting task for me…I’ve never made a turkey. Roasted a chicken, yes, but never a turkey. I was not intimidated, but I was a little stressed about the timing of everything. I was also in charge of making various desserts (including Nutella Balls, Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie, and Cranberry Upside Down Cake), and the cornbread.

Now, I don’t have the steps for what I did with the turkey, which is unfortunate since it turned out really well. But I was too hyper to think about recording what I was doing for future blogging – maybe for the real Thanksgiving I’ll be calmer. The reason I bring the turkey up at all was because I was anxious about space – oven space, that is. I had no idea how long the bird would take to cook, and no clue when the oven would be free. Now, normally for holidays I make a really easy and tasty cornbread pudding (which I will in fact be making next week), but I was afraid the oven wouldn’t be free to bake or reheat it, so I started looking for cornbread alternatives.

That’s when I stumbled on this:  Honey Cornbread Muffins, courtesy of the Neely’s. As a Yankee, I like my cornbread on the sweet side, plus this also looked like something that could be made the day before without too many repercussions, so I decided to give it a whirl. And let me tell you, I’m so glad I did! My only experience with cornbread comes out of the blue Jiffy box, but these from-scratch muffins are not only delicious but extremely easy to make. The only special ingredient they require is cornmeal, which is available at any supermarket I’ve ever been to, so it shouldn’t be hard to get a hold of. I tweaked the recipe just a tad, with more honey, and it came out wonderfully.

The process is very simple. First, you mix together the dry ingredients: corn meal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Then, you whisk together the wet ingredients: melted butter, milk, eggs and honey. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk around until well combined. Literally. I did not bother with a mixer, the whisk works just great.

Then, you evenly distribute the batter amongst a paper-lined muffin tin, and bake for about 15 minutes.

When they come out, they will be nice and golden, with a beautiful consistency. Serve up with some whipped butter, and mmmm mmmm!

Now, everyone has their own ideas about how cornbread should taste. Me, I like it a little sweeter. If you know you don’t like it sweet, you can halve the honey for just a hint of sweetness.

This recipe is easy, yummy, and a definite keeper. Obviously, they are best the day of baking, and they only take 15 minutes, so it is doable once the turkey comes out of the oven. But, they can also be made at least one day ahead (and probably more if you freeze them) so consider adding them to your baking arsenal as a convenient and delicious addition to any holiday meal. 

Honey Cornbread Muffins
(Printable recipe) (recipe makes 24 muffins, but is easy to halve if you want only 12)

  • 2 C cornmeal
  • 2 C AP flour
  • 2 tbls baking powder
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 C honey

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Line 2-12 C muffin pans with paper liners
  3. Combine dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, sugar) in a bowl
  4. Whisk together wet ingredients (melted butter, milk, eggs, honey)
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until combined
  6. Distribute batter evenly amongst liners
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden

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