Corn bread and corn muffins, and biscuits for that matter, are much like barbecue. People are downright passionate about the art-form. These are the most basic of recipes passed down from grandmother and great grandmothers, methods learned by listening and watching. They are soaked in cultural issues and history. It is a my-way-or-the-highway thing. For every family or region there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Some scoff at the notion of adding wheat flour to cornbread. Some are aghast at the notion of adding sugar. And I think that is completely wonderful. Because if we don’t latch on to the ways our people did things, we don’t have this tasty vehicle for remembering and learning.
If you want to get into the controversy between cornbread and biscuits…as opposed to just within each…you will have to read professor Elizabeth Engelhardt’s book A Mess of Greens. It is a fascinating tale of food history, part of which describes how years ago the biscuit team tried to persuade the cornbread team that they were…essentially…poor and stupid and that they needed to join the biscuit team. Paraphrasing, of course. But I’m making a quick bread here, so I’ve got to cut some corners. But there is more to cornbread’s story than you might imagine. And whether you grew up in a cornbread house or a biscuit house, or both, probably tells a story about your family that you have never thought about. This, however is not the topic of the day…onward…
I am something of a wanton flirt where cornbread is concerned, however. I have no team and no credo. I am ecumenical and disloyal, too. I like them all and I like them with different things and in different ways on different days. I will come to your house and tell you that you make the best cornbread known to man or woman and then go somewhere else and tell someone else the very same thing regarding a polar opposite recipe. Then I’ll go home and make it another way still. I’m rudderless in the way of a sun-scorched adventurer. I cannot be trusted where cornbread religion or history is concerned.
I’ve posted a recipe for skillet cornbread before. Then, one of my other favorite versions was printed in The Dallas Morning News last year. And here, I’ve gone and messed with that recipe again, changing the proportions and ingredients, and making it into muffins. It was chili night. We love chili. And I needed cornbread, and fast. So, here you go.
These are sweet and cake-like. They have equal parts flour and cornmeal. They have sugar. In fact, I’ve happily made them with twice as much sugar. So if you have a real sweet tooth or you are balancing these with a very savory and spicy dish like chili, you might consider it. They are made with creamed corn so they are packed with kernels. I use salted butter so that there is a little salt to go with the sweet. I love these. My family loves these. And if I don’t write the recipe down by telling you about it, it will be lost to the ages and I’ll be re-inventing the wheel in another week. Which I will likely do anyway. But, I’ll have this one forever, too. These are best fresh out of the oven.
There is simply no reason not to make cornbread quite often. No good excuse, whatsoever.
|Sweet Cornbread Muffins|| |
- 1¼ cup cornmeal
- 1¼ cup all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup creamed corn
- ½ cup sour cream
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare a standard muffin tin by spraying with nonstick spray or lightly coating with butter.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, creamed corn, sour cream and melted butter. Stir to combine. Scrape the bowl to ensure that the batter is evenly moistened.
- Using a scoop or spoon, evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tin.
- Bake at 400 degrees until done, approximately 16 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the muffin should come out dry.
- Eat with ample salted butter.