Crumbly. Dry. Bland. If I was a contestant on Super Password, these are the words that I would use to try to get my partner to guess "cornbread."
When most people are served a piece of cornbread, their first inclination is to slather it with butter, cover it with honey, or dunk it in their soup--whatever it takes to inject some moisture and flavor into it. I like cornbread that I don't need to top with anything other than a tiny dab of butter; a bread that is moist, slightly sweet, and stands on its own. I've found that the best way to achieve this is in the form of a corn muffin that has a touch of pure maple syrup and some juicy berries mixed into the batter. The individual muffin tins almost "steam" the muffins, so that they are kept moist, and the inclusion of some dark brown sugar helps to create a slightly crunchy crust when you bite into the muffin. These particular muffins are made with blue cornmeal, which is usually found in the health foods section of your supermarket, to complement the color of the berries. Pair them up with the vegetarian chili from yesterday's post, but no dunking necessary! Here are a few tips and comments about the corn muffins:
- Blue cornmeal is not a necessity for this recipe. It is harder to find and more of an investment than the regular kind. You can definitely use yellow cornmeal as a substitution and the muffins will still taste the same.
- You can use low-fat yogurt in this recipe, but not non-fat because the muffins will not turn out as moist. You can also substitute sour cream for the yogurt.
- If you are using frozen blackberries, do not defrost them before adding them to the batter. Defrosted berries will stain the batter. If you don't have blackberries, you can use blueberries or raspberries instead.
- These muffins will keep, tightly wrapped at room temperature for 3-4 days. They can be frozen for 2 weeks. Wrap them in foil and put them directly into a 350F degree oven from the freezer for 10 minutes to reheat.
Blackberry Blue Corn Muffins
Makes about 16
2 cups flour
1 cup blue cornmeal
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/3 cup corn oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 generous cups fresh or frozen blackberries
Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Grease two standard muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl to blend. In a medium bowl, stir together all of the wet ingredients except the berries. Using a rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Fold in the blackberries. Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool some more. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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