Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.
The North thinks it knows how to make cornbread, but this is a gross superstition. Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern cornbread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite as bad as the Northern imitation of it.
— Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
I Had to Step Up My Game
I was born and raised in the northwest corner of the continental United States. (I say “continental” because Alaska looms big and proud even more north and west). I can honestly say that I never tasted cornbread in my "growing up" years. My parents were both first-generation American—Dad’s parents were from the United Kingdom and Mom’s family was Volga-Deutch. Nope, no cornbread here.
Then, I happened to meet and fall in love with a man whose daddy was a Southerner. Texas. He loved his cornbread. So, I had to step up my game and learn how to make the best cornbread.
Carb Diva's Perfect Corn Muffins
1 1/4 cups
Corn meal does not contain gluten, so AP flour is needed to provide structure and lift
Use whole grain stone-ground cornmeal for best corn flavor
1 1/2 teaspoons
Baking powder is baking soda + cream of tartar. It begins to act when it becomes wet and hot. It gives an immediate lift to your batter, but there’s another, sustained “push” when that batter goes into the oven. This is what you need for fluffy muffins.
Baking soda reacts with acid to begin creating carbon dioxide bubbles which make the batter rise
1/2 teaspoon table salt (not Kosher salt)
Salt strengthens the gluten so the muffins won't deflate and improves flavor
Protein in eggs binds the ingredients together , adds structure and moisture
Does more than add sweetness; sugar holds onto water, it provides structure for gas expansion in the oven, promoting lift and rise
1/2 cup, melted and cooled
Adds richness. Always use unsalted butter so that you will know precisely how much salt is going into your baking
More richness, and the acid for the baking soda lift
Moisture and tenderness
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan by spraying each cup with non-stick cooking spray. Don't use paper liners because it's the batter contacting the hot pan that creates the crisp edge.
- Whisk together all of the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs until the whites and yolks are well-blended. Add the sugar and whisk until light and thick, about one-half minute. Gently pour in the melted (cooled) butter.
- Blend together the sour cream and milk; whisk into the egg/butter/sugar mixture.
- Make a well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients all at once. Using a rubber spatula, quickly blend the wet and dry together just until moistened. Don't overwork the batter. Too much stirring will work the gluten and make your muffins tough.
- Divide evenly to fill the muffin tins; bake in preheated oven 15-18 minutes. A wooden toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean.
- Let muffins sit for 5 minutes and then remove from the pan. (If you try to remove them immediately they will tear; but if you let them sit for too long they might stick and the bottoms will steam and get soggy).
Creamed Corn Cornbread Muffins
I'm not a fan of creamed corn—I think it's one of those "love it or hate it" food items. However, I always keep a few cans in the pantry because it works great in casseroles, stuffing, and these extra rich, extra moist and corny creamed corn cornbread muffins.
Read More From Delishably
Cheesy Zucchini Cornbread Muffins
If you are ever overwhelmed by a summertime explosion of zucchini this recipe for cheesy zucchini cornbread muffins will help solve that dilemma. They're moist (of course), cheesy, and have a little zip from a bit of chili powder.
Sourdough Cornbread Muffins
If you maintain a sourdough starter, one of the unfortunate tasks is the discarding of excess starter—I hate that (but it's a necessary evil). What if instead of throwing that cup of starter away, you use it to make these sourdough cornbread muffins?
Bakery-Style Jumbo Blueberry Corn Muffins
April's bakery-style blueberry corn muffins are full of plump fresh blueberries, topped with a sweet crunch of turbinado sugar. Don't use frozen berries in this recipe; although they'll taste just as good, they will bleed and turn your muffins an odd purplish-blue color.
Healthy Maple Sweet Potato Cornbread Muffins
I like the concept of adding sweet potato to muffins. Sweet potatoes are one of the superfoods; they're packed with vitamin A, vitamin B5, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and carotenoids due to their naturally orange color.
These maple sweet potato cornbread muffins are sweet and moist but don't just serve them for breakfast. They would go great with chili, lentil soup, or even as the foundation for knife-and-fork sloppy joes. By the way, if you don't have sweet potatoes cooked butternut or acorn squash would work just as well.
Sweet Potato and White Cheddar Cornbread Muffins
Here's a different idea for sweet potato cornbread muffins; these are sweet and savory with bits of melted white cheddar cheese in every bite. I recommend an Irish cheddar if you can find it.
Another great addition would be a small can of minced mild jalapeños. If you add those to the batter, reduce the amount of buttermilk by two tablespoons.
© 2020 Linda Lum