I have been away from my blog for a while. I hated putting it aside for so long (4 months) but needed to take some time off. Much refreshed and ready to go I wanted to start back with a post about one of the hardest recipes I have worked with. Corn bread muffins!
Fickle little devils. I had to figure out how to make a great corn bread muffin.
I wanted a savory muffin that was light and had a good corn flavor. The corn muffins I had tasted in the past have been overly sticky and sweet or dry and fell apart. I was looking for a tender crumb, not too sweet and a good corn flavor. It did not seem like it would be too hard to accomplish this. I was wrong.
My first few attempts were complete failures.
After researching corn bread and corn bread muffins I found that the type of corn meal you use is very important. You have the choice of a de-germinated corn meal or a whole corn meal. The de-germinated meal made a bland tasting muffin with very little corn flavor and a dry texture. The whole corn meal made a very dry muffin. The whole corn meal was too dense for this recipe.
I was not sure how to solve this problem. When I added real fresh corn the muffins did not fare much better. I could get a light and moist muffin adding more flour and sour cream but it had very little corn bread flavor.
I thought about my granola bar recipe and how I lightened the whole oats by grinding a portion in my food processor and made oat flour. Maybe I could lighten the corn meal by making a corn meal flour? This worked perfectly. I could use the more flavorful whole corn meal by grinding it in the food processor for about 5 minutes. I made a light whole grain corn flour.
The recipe yielded a moist, sweet and tender muffin with the savory components of bacon and cheddar and the slight heat of chipotle powder.
Perfect for your holiday brunch. Make mini muffins for a savory appetizer.
Bacon, Cheddar and Chipotle Corn Bread Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins or 24 Mini Muffins
10 oz unbleached all-purpose flour (I recommend King Arthur) or 2 cups
5 oz stone-ground cornmeal ground fine in the food processor (I recommend Arrowhead Mills) or 1 cup
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 large organic eggs
4 oz sugar or 3/4 cup
7 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk at room temperature
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (use a dry cheese like Dubliner Sharp Cheddar for best results)
1/2 cup finely mined bacon cooked crispy
1/4 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
Make sure your oven rack is in the middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
Line your muffin tin with paper or foil muffin cups and spray cups lightly with non-stick spray.
Mix dry ingredients together, flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda and whisk to fully combine.
In a separate bowl mix eggs and sugar together until thick and homogenous.
Add melted butter, sour cream and milk and whisk for about 30 seconds to add some air into the wet mixture.
Add cheese and bacon to dry ingredients and toss lightly to coat with flour. This will help the bacon and cheddar stay suspended in the muffins instead of sinking to the bottom as they bake.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until fully combined. Do not over mix.
Let muffin batter rest for 5 to 10 minutes after mixing. This will help develop gluten strands in the muffins and will make them lighter and puff up more in cooking.
Scoop batter into muffin tins and make sure the batter makes a dome. Do not smooth the dome. It will seem like you are filling the cups too high but this batter will not expand as much as other muffin batters. Sprinkle the top of muffins with chipotle powder as needed for taste.
Bake muffins at 400 degrees until they are light golden brown. About 15-18 minutes.
Let cool on a rack for 5 minutes.