For this month’s Bake Together, we had a choice in which direction to take the recipe – sweet or savory. I automatically assumed I’d be on #TeamSweet. I love corn and sugar together so it just seemed like a given.
But then we were making chili for dinner, and I thought about these muffins, and decided to throw something together at the last minute. It’s probably my least-pondered Bake Together recipe, but they turned out great.
I used Abby’s guidelines and cut back on the sugar, eliminated the vanilla and strawberries, and bumped up the amount of salt. I also bumped up the amount of cornmeal a bit (really just a lazy accident). For flavor, I just looked in the refrigerator to see what was there: shredded cheddar, a jalapeño pepper, and some green garlic. My last-minute addition for texture and crunch were some chia seeds, which I normally use to top my oatmeal or to make pudding. But they work great in a savory muffin, too.
Abby includes weights for the flour and cornmeal. For baking, measuring ingredients by weight is more precise and will result in less fluctuation in results. For this recipe, I used one bowl for the dry ingredients, on the scale. As I added each ingredient, I hit the tare button to zero out the scale before adding the next.
I used a bowl instead of a measuring cup for the wet ingredients and weighed those too – if the eggs didn’t need to be beaten a bit before adding them to the dry ingredients, I would have just weighed and added to the main mixing bowl. Weighing also means fewer dishes to wash!
I think every home cook should own a scale, and not just for baking. It makes cooking so much easier and usually means fewer dishes to wash. I dream of the day when every recipe includes weights (I prefer metric – so much easier to work with – but I’ll take Imperial). I use an Oxo scale, and I’ve also got a small, inexpensive jeweler’s scale for small measurements. I prefer working in metric units because they’re easier to scale.
Would you like to win your own kitchen scale from OXO? OXO has provided me with a 5 Pound Food Scale with Pull-Out Display to give away. All you have to do is post a comment here before Monday, June 4, 2012 at 11:59pm PDT. I’d love to hear your thoughts on using weights for cooking rather than volume. I’ll choose a winner (continental US only) on June 5, 2012 using a random drawing via random.com.
UPDATE 06.05.12: Congrats to my friend Kristina, Mouth from the South, and winner of the OXO digital scale! I swear it wasn’t rigged and she probably didn’t bribe me with bourbon. Results from the draw are here!
Cornmeal Cheddar Muffins
Adapted from: Abby Dodge
Makes 6, moist muffins.
3/4 cup (95 grams) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (39 grams) finely ground yellow cornmeal
3 Tbsp. (36 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (9.6 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (56 grams) grated, lightly packed cheddar cheese
1 large jalapeño pepper, finely diced (remove stem and seeds)
2 bulbs green garlic, finely chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp. (15 grams) chia seeds
1/2 cup (125 grams) buttermilk, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
3 tablespoons (41 grams) grapeseed oil
To make the muffins:
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 6 regular-sized muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, cheddar, jalapeño, garlic (if using) and chia seeds. Whisk gently until well blended. Measure the buttermilk using a 2 cup glass measure (if you don’t have one, measure the buttermilk and pour into a small bowl). Add the egg and oil and mix with a table fork until well blended. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold (no stirring) until just blended.
Portion the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (1/4 cup of batter per cup will be about three-quarters of the way full). Bake until the tops are pale golden brown and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Move to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and set them on a wire rack. Serve immediately or cool completely and stow in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. I like them best when they are served warm so please reheat before serving.
- Cornmeal Cheddar Muffins (Adapted from Abby Dodge)