Corn Muffins

Corn Muffins

Oh. My. Muffin.

These corn muffins you see here were made with the mix that Alicia sent me a little while ago, as part of her Maryland Delights food package.

I hadn’t had a corn muffin since my California days, and they were as excellent as I remembered, if not even more so. This mix is made by a brand named Washington, and boasts golden sweet corn as its first ingredient — while the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix lists Enriched Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin and Folic Acid before cornmeal even shows up! This may very well explain the taste difference.

And um, as enthusiastic a baker as I am, there is definitely something to be said for baking mixes : you dump the mix in a bowl, add a beaten egg and a half-cup of milk (which was, quite eerily, exactly the amount left in the carton), and then stir-pour-bake. The most time-consuming thing was, possibly, lining the muffin pan with paper cups.

Nice and golden, subtly sweet with a great corn flavor, they developped the tastiest crust on top. We ate them still warm, just out of the oven. Maxence seems to be a horizontal muffin eater, but I am most definitely a vertical muffin eater, bottom-to-top : remove the paper liner, but gently, to minimize the amount of muffin that stays stuck on, for grating the paper cup with your teeth isn’t acceptable in all situations, and just isn’t as enjoyable as you might expect. Flip the muffin upside down and bite into the bottom of the muffin, gnawing at the moussy yellow goodness, until you are left with the top crust and just the right amount of remaining muffin flesh. Take a moment to admire your crispy flying saucer with the eyes of love, and eat it blissfully in a circular motion, crusty side down.

And now, dear and resourceful readers, my question to you is : does anyone have a from-scratch recipe that makes corn muffins as delightful as these?

Tagged:
  • http://culinaryepiphanies.blogdrive.com Kelli

    >sigh< You’re a step ahead of me. I plan on baking some cornbread (OK, so that’s not quite muffins, but close!) tomorrow, and will post the results on my blog. I’m not exactly sure what recipe I will use, but I’m leaning toward one in my Vegetarian Times cookbook. Oh, and I’m going to put raspberries in it… =)

  • Sonia

    Dear Clotilde,
    Your post made me feel positively sentimental. I haven’t made corn bread or muffins in years – right now I am asking myself, why? – but my all-time favorite comes from “The Tasha Tudor Cookbook”, a lovely little book of simple and delicious recipes. I always made this in a cake pan since my husband & I could never resist eating the entire thing anyway. We should have shown more restraint but cornbread fresh out of the oven can test even the strongest of wills, don’t you think? Ms. Tudor specifies that it tastes best made in a cast-iron pan since that results in a “unique crustiness” but it is delicious no matter what pan you use. The addition of egg whites makes it very light and tender. I would sometimes reduce the amount of sugar depending what I was serving the bread with. The recipe is:
    “1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened;
    2/3 cup sugar;
    2 farm-fresh eggs, at room temperature, separated;
    1 cup unbleached flour;
    3 teaspoons baking powder;
    1/4 teaspoon salt;
    1 cup milk, lukewarm; and
    1 cup yellow cornmeal.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an iron cornbread pan that makes 12 sticks, or a muffin tin, with peanut oil.
    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar and add the egg yolks, slightly beaten. Stir well. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt, then add it alternately with the milk to the creamed butter. Stir in the cornmeal, then fold in the beaten egg whites.
    Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until beautifully browned.”

    If I had any corn meal in my pantry I would be making this right now. Sadly, the grocery store does not open for another 30 minutes :(

    Cheers,
    Sonia

  • kelli ann

    muffins in france!!

    your post made me laugh, not at you per se, but because it reminded me of elaine’s ill-fated muffin cap venture on seinfeld. for some reason, that show would make me roll on the floor laughing in a way no other show could. (perhaps i am just a big geek.)

    the muffins are lovely. in the area where i work, the muffins are all enormous and cake-ey and too sweet and crumbly. i am going to try making corn muffins to bring into the office for mid-morning break!!

  • bobo

    Corn Muffins With Green Chiles. Ingredients: Cornmeal-1 1/2 cups. King Arthur Flour-1/2 cup. Salt-1 teaspoon. Baking Powder-1 tablespoon. Baking Soda-1/2 teaspoon. Large Eggs-2. Sour Cream-1 1/4 cups. Sweet Butter-5 tablespoons melted. Cream Style Corn-1/2 cup. Green Chili’s Chopped.-1/2 cup. Combine all the ingredients. Do not over mix. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 450F degrees.

  • ROBERT

    I’d never presume to try and top (or even match) an experience so positive as the one you’ve enjoyed with your corn muffins – but, this is a nice recipe, too. For me it is a Fall favorite. I hope it proves useful.

    Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins
    Makes 12 muffins
    Hands-on time: 10 minutes
    Total time:45 minutes

    1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    3/4 cup light brown sugar
    1/2 cup milk
    4 eggs
    1 15-ounce can solid pumpkin
    1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

    Heat oven to 350° F. If not using silicone pans, lightly coat two 6-cup muffin tins with vegetable cooking spray.
    In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to slow, add the remaining ingredients, and beat for 3 minutes or just until smooth.
    Spoon the batter into the muffin pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

  • Sylvie

    Now that you have recipes, your problem will be to find cornmeal ! I have never seen any in France (apart from Maïzena) !
    Love
    Maman

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Kelli – Great, I’ll come and check it out!

    Sonia – Thanks a lot for the recipe! The whipped eggwhites do sound like they’d lend a great texture to the muffins…

    Bobo – Are the green chiles you use for this recipe very spicy, medium or mild?

    Kelli Ann – Boy, are your coworkers lucky!

    Robert – I’ve never had anything with a pumpkin/corn mix of flavor, that sounds really interesting! I’ll have to cook the pumkin myself, as canned pumkin isn’t very common here. Or maybe in American food stores, I’ll have to look!

    Maman – You can find cornmeal in organic grocery stores : for fine cornmeal, it’s “farine de maïs”, and for a coarser ground cornmeal, I use the packages labelled “polenta”. It works very well!

  • http://mylittlekitchen.blogspot.com/ Cathy

    Clotilde – I love corn bread – the recipe I use is one that used to appear on the Quaker corn meal box. They have since changed their recipe to use more flour and less corn meal (I can’t imagine why). I currently use the corn meal made by the same folks that made your mix. The recipe on that package is very similar to the old Quaker recipe below. The only differences are that they call for 3 tsp baking powder and soft shortening rather than vegetable oil. They say to cook it at 425F. Here’s the Quaker recipe I use all the time:

    Easy Corn Bread

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup corn meal
    1/4 cup sugar
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt (optional)
    1 cup milk
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 egg, beaten

    Heat oven to 400F. Grease 8 or 9-inch baking pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Serve warm. 9 servings.

    I can’t wait to try the other recipes here – they sound great!

  • http://wordridden.com Jessica

    Hi Clotilde,

    I just wanted to say that 1) I absolutely adore your site and have been reading it enthusiastically for quite some time now, and 2) I use the same exact cornbread recipe as Cathy (the one from the Quaker corn meal box) and it turns out great every time. I love cornbread with spicy Southern dishes like red beans and rice or gumbo, or slathered with butter and honey as a tasty (if somewhat heavy) snack!

  • http://www.unfinishedmind.blogspot.com Lacy

    Dear Clotide,

    Are you aware that there are different kinds of cornbread? It depends on what part of the US you are from as to whether your cornbread is yellow and sweet, or white and not.

    My father is originally from Georgia and my Grandmother makes the best white corn meal corn bread I have ever eaten. It has an entirely different taste than the sweet yellow kind. It is salty and rich and crumbly, where most yellow cornbread I’ve had is slightly sweet (sometimes from sugar, sometimes just from the corn) and more cake-y. White cornbred (at least the way my granmother made it) also uses buttermilk instead of plain. =)

    Happy muffins!
    ~Lacy

  • Wendy

    So I’m not the only one who will make cornbread from a mix! :)
    I have to recommend, for the budget-conscious, Trader Joe’s cornbread mix. It’s what I used most recently, and also has sweet corn kernels tucked in. Very yummy. A perfect note of sweetness that’s not too overwhelming.

    Alas, I will keep looking for some from-scratch recipes here–though I am sold for the moment on the mix! (I’m incorrigible).

  • Sonia

    Slightly off the topic of cornbread, but having to do with Maryland delights – I am so excited that hubby and I are driving up to Baltimore, Maryland tomorrow. The baseball game we’re attending will be fun, but what I am really looking forward to is stocking up on Berger’s cookies! We both attended college in Baltimore and are well-acquainted with Berger’s, as they provided the sugary fuel for many a late-night study session. This time tomorrow I will be Berger-deprived no more!

  • http://perso.wanadoo.fr/ethan.gilsdorf/parispostcard.html isabelle

    hi clotilde!

    not sure if you already have a favorite and easy place to buy cornmeal in paris, but i get mine up at chateau rouge, very inexpensive at any number of those wonderful west african epiceries around the marché dejean.

  • http://www.himonkey.net monkey

    finally! vertical muffin eating instructions! elegant in simplicity and so satisfying.

    i have been moved to pen this haiku:

    golden brown muffin
    a sunbust of corn goodness
    awaits us inside

  • John Chypre

    corn bread & muffins are essentialy the same ingredients baked differently. My way uses corn from my garden, a dent corn, Nothstein dent. It’s open pollinated so you can save seed. After harvesting I hand grind it. The meal is then incorporated into a mix of eggs which come from my neighbor down the road a bit, milk from a local dairy farm and other ingredients. Mixes are banal and insiped. What on earth are we becoming?

  • Christine

    That’s how I ate cornmuffins (when I cooked). I’d never heard of them until I came to US (from UK), but my then-DH introduced me to Jiffy muffins…. now you need fresh strawberry jam on the cap – crusty side down.
    Oh, and thanks a lot for posting on BABBLE, a few weeks ago – now I’m hooked for 30minutes each day.

  • Julie Conason

    I know you already have lots of recipes (sorry! I was away for the weekend…and guess what — we found the giant Reese’s cups in Vermont!) but if you can find the ingredients, you must try this. It’s a fairly authentic southern-style cornbread, and it’s my absolute favorite of all that I have ever tried. I always bake it in a very heavy, seasoned skillet because you get this incredible crunchy corn crust that way. This is a pure cornbread…no white flour at all. We love it for weekend breakfasts with bacon and eggs, but it’s also great with soups or chili or Mexican dishes…

    2 cups stone-ground corn meal
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    2 cups buttermilk
    4 tablespoons bacon drippings (you can substitute oil or melted butter if you prefer)

    Cornbread is best baked in a cast-iron skillet but if you don’t have one, a Pyrex dish will do just fine. If you halve this recipe, use an 8-inch square dish; if not, use a 9×13-inch dish or pan.

    Preheat oven to 450°F.

    Put bacon drippings in your baking dish or skillet and let them melt on the stove or in the oven while it’s preheating.

    Mix together the cornmeal, baking soda, baking power, and salt. Beat the buttermilk, eggs and 2 Tbsp. of the melted drippings together lightly, just until blended. Add to the dry ingredients, and stir just enough to moisten them. Remove the heated pan from the oven or stovetop, swirl the remaining drippings around until it’s completely coated and pour the batter into it (it should sizzle). Bake until lightly brown and cornbread starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 12 to 15 minutes.

    Notes : Cornbread batter should be mixed, poured and baked quickly. As soon as the leavening ingredients (that would be the baking powder, baking soda and buttermilk) are combined, the chemical action that makes the cornbread rise is sparked. No need to hurry; just don’t mix up the batter and then make a phone call before you pop it in the oven.

  • http://culinaryepiphanies.blogdrive.com Kelli

    Well, my cornbread I had planned for Saturday turned into corn muffins on Sunday… and they were GOOD! =) The recipe is at http://culinaryepiphanies.blogdrive.com

  • the amazing kim

    One more recipe for luck…

    Corn and Cheddar Muffins
    (makes about 30 mini-muffins)

    1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 egg
    6 tablespoon sugar
    8 1/2 oz creamed corn
    1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cups cornmeal
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix yogurt and oil in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, sugar and mix. Add corn, cheese, flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Mix until all ingredients are moistened. Lightly grease muffin cups. Fill each cup with about 1 tablespoon of mixture. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes at 325°F or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    All – Thank you so much for the recipes, cornmeal info and haikus!

  • marie

    I just baked a batch of corn muffins, using Cathy’s recipe.
    These are my first corn muffins, I cannot compare but they are hmmmm… yummy !

    Thanks a lot for the recipe !

    Clotilde, thanks a lot for your blog, I love it !

  • Rusty – Sacramento, CA

    Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix – Copy Cat recipe

    Makes: 6 muffins.

    When a recipe calls for a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, here’s a copycat recipe you can make at home.

    This recipe is equal to one 8.5 ounce box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.

    Makes 8.5 ounces (equal to 1-box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix) Makes 1-1/2 cups of mix. Makes 6 corn muffins.

    INGREDIENTS

    2/3 cup all purpose flour
    1/2 cup yellow corn meal
    3 Tbsp granulated sugar
    1 Tbsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    1 egg
    1/3 cup milk

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix well with whisk. Whisk in vegetable oil and mix until dry mixture is smooth and lumps are gone.

    2. If another recipe is calling for a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, add the above mixed ingredients to that recipe.

    3. If you wish to make Corn Muffins, continue with instructions below.

    4. Preheat oven to 400F.Combine above mixture with egg and milk. Mix well.

    Fill muffin tins 1/2 full. Bake 15-20 minutes. Makes 6 muffins.

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