Friday, November 7, 2008

Corn Muffins

Last fall, at the my place of employment (which shall herein be known as The Workplace), I initiated something I like to call Taste of The Workplace. It's an opportunity for anyone who wants to to bring in a tasty dish or baked good to share with others, potluck style. It is also combined with a food drive and recipe swap. What a great way to get all the coworkers sitting down to eat and chat together and spread good will at the same time!

In the past I have done spinach and artichoke dip and apple bread (two recipes which I am shocked to discover I have yet to share with you all... I will remedy that eventually). I tend to shy away from desserts because I get the sense that people often bring desserts to these things, since tasty baked sweets lend themselves to this style of potluck better. So I decided on corn muffins which can be sweet (I served them up with butter and Trappist strawberry jam) or savory (there was supposed to be chili at the event, which would have been the perfect duo, but alas, that fell through). They seemed to be a big hit.

I'll admit that despite starting this tradition, I don't feel like appetizers/baked goods/side dishes/snacks are really my forte, so I am never completely satisfied with my contributions to these events. I'll have to leave my thinking cap on.

The honey addition to these was inspired by this fabulous corn bread we would get at a restaurant called Red Star in Pittsburgh. They'd bring the cornbread out to you in a hot cast-iron skillet. It would be topped with a crisp sugar-honey crust and was generally moist and delicious. That is what I think corn bread/muffins should be like. Did these live up to the memory? Not quite, but they were still very tasty. Alas, I think Red Star has since updated their menu and the corn bread has disappeared. Let us have a moment of silence and a corn muffin in it's memory.

Corn Muffins

from The New Best Recipe
Makes 12 muffins

2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fine stone-ground, yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
honey (my addition!)

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
2) Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl to combine; set aside.
3) Whisk eggs in a second medium bowl until well combined and light colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar to eggs; whisk vigorously until thick and homogeneous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition.
4) Add half the sour cream and half the milk and whisk to combine; whisk in remaining sour cream and milk until combined.
5) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; mix gently with a rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened. Do not over mix! Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping it to form mounds (do not level or flatten surface of mounds).
5) Bake until muffins are light golden brown and a skewer inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Remove muffins from oven. While still warm, drizzle about a teaspoon of honey over each muffin. Cool muffins in tin 5 minutes; cool 5 minutes longer on a cookie rack, then serve warm.

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