Sunday, July 3, 2011

Blueberry Corn Muffins

juicy berries, sweet corn, dripping with know you want it !

Oh my heck, what a month. Every 18 months, my day job goes absolutely haywire for a month...and even though I know it's coming, it still kicks the @%&* out of me. 12 - 14 hour days are just bad for me on a lot of levels, not the least of which is that I barely remember to eat - let alone get my food porn on. Thankfully, I'm about at the end for now...and I am craving me some Culinary Orgasm, that's for sure !

We did cook a few memorable meals in the last month - fresh-caught striped bass with escarole and stuffed squid stand out - and I plan to try and blog them if at all possible, as they really were amazing. Worst case scenario is that we may need to make them again to remember what we did...oh, the agony. (Kidding !). For now, though, let's start out with the muffins I made for breakfast this morning. I've been making these for my family for years....the way in which they came about, though, is typical me - see a cool recipe and mess with it. And, in this case, throw in an accidental ingredient. Yup, typical :).

The first place I saw Blueberry Corn Muffins was years ago in one of my favorite cookbooks - The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook .  Sort of a head-smacking moment, actually...I love blueberry muffins , and I love corn muffins - but I'd never thought about combining them. "Can you really do that ? " I thought...and set out to buy the ingredients. Next morning, I discovered one tiny problem...I had purchased white cornmeal instead of yellow. Didn't even know there was such a thing - but there was no turning back now, I was committed to my path. I mixed up the muffins, popped them in, and crossed my fingers.

And ended up with one of the most delicious things I've ever made - and that is saying something !

White cornmeal is somewhat less gritty than yellow, and makes a lighter muffin - which turns out to be really, really perfect with blueberries. You still get that lovely sweet corn taste, with incredible texture - but none of it overpowers the blueberries. It's really like getting two great muffins in one. I also found out later that white cornmeal is actually preferred for cornbread in much of the South. I still make my cornbread with yellow cornmeal - I guess I'm too much of a Yankee to change that much - but I do keep white cornmeal on hand for making these glorious, perfect muffins.

who doesn't love a pan of giant muffins ?

Although I got the idea from Silver Palate, the batter I use for these muffins is pretty much the same way I make my cornbread - I just use white cornmeal instead of yellow, and I double the sugar since my cornbread isn't overly sweet. (If yellow's what you have...along with a hankering for muffins...go for it; they'll still be tasty and delicious - just ask the Silver Palate. In a pinch, adding blueberries to a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix also works surprisingly well.)  I also tend to use a lot of dried blueberries in my baking - they rehydrate just enough in the batter to give you that sweet juicy blueberry taste, and they are very easy to keep on hand. (Frozen blueberries tend to turn the batter purple, and fresh wild are hard to find except in August). There are two additional items from  King Arthur Flour that are not essential, but add a lot of fun to my muffin making adventures - silicone baking cups (reusable - and I have never had anything stick to these things !) and sparkling white sugar (gives your home baking a really cool, professional look and is oh-so-tasty besides...stays pretty and crunchy [but not too hard] throughout the baking process).

check out that easy release....sweet !

muffin-y goodness

Blueberry Corn Muffins
Makes 12 standard or 6 jumbo (as pictured here) muffins

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable/canola oil
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh OR 1 cup dried blueberries

Heat oven to 400. Mix dry ingredients, then stir in wet ones and combine just until moist. Add blueberries last.

Line muffin tins with paper or silicone liners, or grease or spray tins liberally with cooking spray. Distribute batter evenly between cups. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

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