Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cornbread Muffin Cook-off: America's Test Kitchen

For my second cornbread attempt I went to the south, and the Best Light Recipe cookbook from the America's Test kitchen. Unlike the last recipe I tried from this book--the incredibly complicated and time consuming tomato soup--this was pretty simple and didn't require a lot of complicated steps or ingredients. I did add some things not in the recipe--following the directions from the Joy of Cooking for add ins.

Cornbread muffinsIngredients:
cooking spray
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp stevia baking blend
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup boiling water
3/4 c half and half (the recipe called for buttermilk, but this is what I had)
1 large egg
1 tbs butter (I used light butter)
Add ins:
two chipoltes in adobo, seeded and rinsed
3 cloves roasted garlic
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, moving the rack down to the lower middle position. Spray the muffin tin with cooking spray (the recipe is actually for a round or square cake, I decided to do muffins--the corn muffin recipe in the book is a different animal altogether--it calls for a whole cup of sugar!)

Cornbread muffinsCornbread muffinsPut 1/3 of a cup of cornmeal in a medium bowl, while the water boils. The book suggests boiling quite a bit of water and measuring out 1/3 when it is at a hard boil. I just put it in the microwave, since I don't have a kettle and don't want to get burned. The rest of the cornmeal goes into a smaller bowl with the salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and the cheese. Once the water is at a high boil it goes directly into the 1/3 cup cornmeal to make a thick mush. After the water was added, I melted the butter in the microwave in the same dish.
Cornbread muffinsCornbread muffinsThe next step is to gradually whisk in the half-n-half or buttermilk, breaking up the lumps until smooth. I then added my add ins, and a lightly beat egg and the butter. Then the dry ingredients are quickly stirred in, being careful not to over beat. This is a much softer batter than the other cornbread, and can be poured into the pre-greased pan. At this point, even before cooking, the batter has an enticing scent from the garlic and peppers, and the adobo colored the batter a lovely rosy color.

Cornbread muffinsCornbread muffinsThe pan goes into the pre-heated oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. These didn't rise as much as the other muffins, but they developed the most delicious crust. The book does suggest flipping it out to cool on a rack--which I haven't purchased, so I put them on a cloth. Of course, I had to eat one steaming hot out of the oven.

Cornbread muffinsThe Verdict:
So good--very flavorful, with the right balance of crispy corn outside, to soft inside. This has more of a cornbread feel to me, less of a muffin, and more of a delicious smokey corn goodness. I could eat these plain, with chili, warm, hot, cold, or nine days old. They are quite spicy, which I love, and need nothing to accompany them. Both of my cornbread muffins are good, but this is the one I'm likely to come back to to try again. Maybe I'm just a southern cornbread girl, though I'm not from the south!

No comments:

Post a Comment