16 September 2014

Seasonal Corn Muffins

Cornbread was one of the first things I'd bake after moving into our apartment almost 2 years ago. I made it in my cast iron skillet since I was still sourcing a muffin tin and other pans, delayed buyer I am. I remember pulling leftover slices from the freezer during Hurricane Sandy when the power went out and letting them defrost, thinking, if there's some kind of shortage, at least we have cornbread. At that point I made Mark Bittman's easy classic skillet bread, always savory, sometimes with scallions and cheese and cayenne and such. It's good, I just reminded myself to make it again. But, it's rare to find that muffin or quick bread that borders right on the sweet and savory line, one that you can spice to your liking, one that can fare well at breakfast, alongside a salad for lunch, smeared with honey-butter at afternoon tea, or as a dinner appetizer, and one that includes the option of beloved late summer fresh corn kernels. 

This one is owed to Dorie Greenspan. It's a two bowl affair involving cornmeal, flour, a wee bit of sugar, buttermilk, egg, a bit of both butter and oil (I used light olive but she calls for corn), and fresh corn. I stirred in some snipped rosemary and zested orange because they belong together. The cornmeal-butter flavor here is strong, in a good way, and I think the spices add a bit of mystery to a simple standard. You could do lemon and rosemary, too, and don't even have to use the kernels if straight up is more your thing. I might try that version when fresh corn ceases to appear. Either way, they're lovely, easy, corny and can be on your table shortly. In other news, I've been adding fall spices like cinnamon, ginger and clove to my go-to olive oil granola recipe (which I also sometimes make with coconut oil) and it's, well, making me think about pumpkin spice prematurely. Let's use the corn while we can.

Corn Muffins with Orange and Rosemary
Adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours

Notes: I halved the recipe, and used extra light olive oil in lieu of corn oil. Worked just fine.

125 g /1 c all-purpose flour
130 g / 1 cup yellow cornmeal, stone-ground
70 g / 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp each fresh grated orange zest + fresh snipped rosemary (optional)
230 g / 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
42 g/ 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 T light olive or corn oil (I used light olive)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
Scant 1 cup fresh corn kernels

Oven to 400 F, rack in center. Butter  a regular-size muffin pan.

Mix the orange zest into the sugar with a fork well so it is blended and fragrant.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, orange-sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and rosemary.

In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, egg and yolk together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and gently but fold together until almost just combined. Batter will be lumpy. Stir in the corn kernels gently and divide batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until tops are golden and a wood skewer comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 3-4 minutes before carefully removing each muffin and resting them in the pan on their sides. Then move to rack to cool completely.

Recent Cornmeal, Rosemary + Orange

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