I often find myself (1) having extra buttermilk in the refrigerator, and (2) flipping through cookbooks (particularly, baking books) for fun. So one night, I was sitting on the couch with my husband and looking through Baked Explorations when I saw a very simple recipe for honey corn muffins. It's a very simple quick mix; I saw that I had all the ingredients on hand (including the buttermilk) and decided on the spot that I'd make some the next morning. And that's how these came about.
I did some of the prep work the night before (gathering the dry ingredients, setting out some of the cold ingredients) and got the muffin batter into the oven within ten minutes the next morning. Since they only need 12 minutes or so in the oven and are meant to be eaten warm, they're a great quick mix for breakfast or brunch, or even as an accompaniment for dinner. I liked the sweet and slightly salty note to these corn muffins. And lately, I find there's something addicting about the subtle flavor of buttermilk in muffins and pancakes. I used stone ground cornmeal, which gives the muffins a gritty texture that I like. The honey flavor is subtle, which is good, since I find too much honey can be overpowering in baked goods.
For the most part, we munched on these plain - without accompaniment - but if you like, you could spread a bit of butter and/or honey on them while they're still warm to accentuate the flavors even more.
And if you're like me and find yourself with extra buttermilk, may I suggest making some amazing buttermilk pancakes or one of the best chocolate cakes ever? Admittedly, these recipes are often the reason for the buttermilk in the fridge to begin with. Plus, there's also the option of making a batch of basic chocolate cupcakes or even a pan of basic cornbread.
These honey corn muffins are simple to whip up. There's not an excessive amount of fat or sugar in the muffins so I don't feel bad about having one in the morning to start the day.
Begin with the dry ingredients. Whisk yellow cornmeal (I like the stone ground kind), flour, baking powder, a bit of brown and granulated sugar, as well as salt together in a bowl. I divided the recipe in half and made 7 muffins (I probably could've piled it on a bit more to make an even half dozen but I almost always end up with an extra).
For the wet ingredients, combine an egg (two, if you're making the full recipe) together with some buttermilk, honey and melted butter.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture. Gently fold the two together until just combined.
Once combined, scoop the light and fluffy batter into greased muffin tins (lightly spray with cooking spray and spread the oil evenly with a paper towel). Fill the batter up about 75-80% of the way high and tap the tin on the counter to level the batter slightly (don't use anything else to level the batter; I found it was a bad idea to use the back of a spoon - those tops looked a bit crushed out of the oven). Bake the muffins in a preheated 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. They're done when the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Once out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes before popping them right out of the tins. Serve the muffins while they're still warm. I particularly enjoyed the browned sides of the muffins and the grainy but light texture in the center. For leftovers, the recipe recommends slicing and toasting the muffins before eating.
Honey Corn Muffins
From Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito (of Baked Bakery)
- Approximately 12 muffins -
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal (I used stone ground)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable spray. Using a paper towel, spread the oil evenly around each muffin cup.
In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add buttermilk, honey, and butter, whisking together until combined.
In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, both sugars, and salt together. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, pour the wet ingredients into the well, and gently fold the two together until just combined.
Use a large ice cream scoop and fill each muffin cup about three-quarters full. Tap the bottom of the pan on the counter to level the batter a bit. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack before popping the muffins out.
Serve muffins while they're warm. Serve with butter and/or honey, if desired. Leftover muffins can be sliced and toasted in the oven.