These tender, easy-to-prepare Cornbread Muffins are equally delicious with a hearty meal or with butter and honey as a homey, comforting snack.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Eliza say, “Mom, can I bake cornbread muffins?”
In the morning or early afternoon, she makes them for snacking. In the late afternoon, she prepares them as her signature addition to our dinner. At our house, these cornbread muffins act mostly as a vehicle for honey, but with or without it, they are tender and delicious with great texture from the cornmeal.
We decided to share this favorite recipe with Eliza’s class as part of a baking series I’m doing at her school. Since it’s an easy, kid-tested recipe, I felt confident that our baking session would run smoothly without any major hitches.
Mostly, I was right.
The kids showed great teamwork, they laughed and joked while they worked, and their muffins baked to a lovely golden perfection. Somehow, though, as we worked, we managed to set off the school’s fire alarm. Oops.
As we evacuated the school, I never dreamed that my bakers and I had triggered the alarm. The kids were washing dishes and wiping down the table as the mouthwatering aroma of muffins baking filled the room — a delicious scent far, far removed from the acrid smell of burned baked goods. We weren’t biased, either. More than a few teachers had popped their heads through the doorway to ask what we were baking because it smelled so good.
So when the lights began flashing and the alarm bells blared, even though I knew we weren’t the problem, I did take a moment to peek in the oven to double-check that everything was in order. It was.
In case you’re wondering, I did not turn the oven off before I escorted the students outside. I know, I know. I should have. I even thought about it. It’s just that I’ve worked in enough schools to have lived through more false alarms than I care to remember. I felt certain we’d get the all clear and return to class before our oven-timer even buzzed. So please, before you judge or criticize, weigh the near-certainty of a false alarm against the absolute-certainty of ruined muffins and a class full of disappointed fifth graders.
As I had guessed, it was a false alarm. Imagine my surprise at finding out that our deliciously fragrant muffins had caused it! Apparently, steam cranking out of the un-vented oven set the alarm bells blaring as students and staff fled to the safety of the street.
Don’t mind us, firefighters. Thanks so much for your time. Can we offer you some muffins?
While we got more than we bargained for baking these muffins, we learned an important lesson without burning a single one. Now when we bake at school, we prop the doors open and turn on a fan for cross ventilation.
Despite the dramatic experience, I’m happy to report that at least one of Eliza’s classmates has made cornbread muffins at home without setting off any alarms. Thank goodness.
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick), melted
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease or paper line a muffin pan with 12 cups.
- Measure flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk well to combine.
- In another bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Whisk well to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until the ingredients just come together, no more than 20 strokes.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin tin, filling the cups about ¾ full.
- Bake on the middle rack for about 15 minutes, until the muffins are set and not yet starting to brown. Cool for about five minutes in the pan before removing to a rack.
PIN CORNBREAD MUFFINS FOR LATER
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