These savory corn muffins are loaded with corn flavor and are the perfect accompaniment to chili or your favorite stew.
This past Sunday, we were a super small crowd for Sunday dinner – just myself, my husband and my father-in-law (and Joseph, of course!) – and the weather had been downright frigid. We saw snowflakes on Saturday… snowflakes! When the weather starts to get blustery, I crave warm bowls of food, like soups, stews and chili. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a cold Sunday afternoon watching football than with a bowl of chili, so on the menu it went! Aside from shredded cheddar cheese and Fritos, I consider cornbread a near necessity when eating chili. I need SOMETHING to sop up all of that delicious leftover chili sauce in the bottom of the bowl!
I’ve made a ton of great cornbread recipes over the years, but I was in the mood to try something different this week and sent out an SOS on Friday for recommendations. Thank you, thank you! I appreciate all of the suggestions, and plan to try a new one each time I make chili this winter! Many thanks to Amanda to linking out to the Smitten Kitchen version of the corn muffins by Cook’s Illustrated – they had been in one of my binders for months and I had forgotten about them! Deb upped the sugar content in her muffins, and I followed suit.
These corn muffins are basically the corniest of corn muffins out there! If you’ve ever made cornbread, you know that you typically use much more flour than cornmeal, but in these muffins, the ratio is reversed. I balked at it at first because I thought that they could be a little dry and dense, but thanks to the addition of things like milk, melted butter and sour cream, the muffins are wonderfully moist and full of flavor.
The preparation method is a little unconventional, as you start by cooking some of the cornmeal with the milk to create almost a polenta or grits-like consistency, then combining all of the other ingredients. Cook’s Illustrated explains that this is done to trap the water and keep the corn muffins nice and moist.
These corn muffins were fabulous alongside our chili on Sunday; we ate them plain, but they would also be fantastic with a smear of butter (or honey butter – even better!).
Make a double batch and keep some in the freezer for chili emergencies!
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin (I used paper liners and the muffins stuck a bit, so I would recommend greasing the pan).
In a medium bowl, Whisk together 1½ cups of the cornmeal, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup cornmeal and the milk. Microwave for 1½ minutes, then whisk thoroughly and continue to microwave, whisking every 30 seconds, until thickened to a batter-like consistency (the whisk will leave a distinct trail in the bottom of the bowl that slowly fills in), 1 to 3 additional minutes. [Note: If you do not have a microwave, you can do this step in a saucepan on the stovetop.]
Whisk in the sour cream, melted butter, and sugar until combined, then whisk in the eggs. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined (the batter will be very thick). Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (the batter will mound slightly above the rim).
Bake until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 13 to 17 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through baking. Let the muffins cool in the muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from the muffin tin and let cool 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months.
Note: Using coarse-ground or white cornmeal is not recommended.Nutritional values are based on one serving