Sunday, October 27, 2019

Melissa Clark's Cornbread Muffins

LUCY BURDETTEHappy Sunday everyone! I love, love, love cornmeal muffins but I've found the ones I made in the past turned out dry, a poor shadow of the muffins from my favorite Connecticut bakery, Four and Twenty Blackbirds. When I spotted this recipe in the Wednesday food section of the Times, I had to try it. I take no credit for designing this recipe--all of that goes to Melissa Clark in the New York Times food section. I do get credit for noticing how fabulous these muffins sounded, making them myself, and now encouraging you! This is not a dietetic recipe, it's for a special occasion.

Here's what you'll need:

2 sticks butter (yup, that's right, 2)
1 and 1/2 cups flour
2 cups cornmeal 
2/3 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons baking powder (I always choose the low-sodium brand)
1/2 tsp salt (I cut this in half from 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream or whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup milk (you might as well use whole)
2 eggs at room temp

Preheat the oven to 400. Put cupcake liners in a cupcake pan.

Melt the butter. When it's cool, whisk in the sour cream, milk, and eggs.

In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. 

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Drop the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle a bit of coarse sugar on the tops if you like. Bake until golden and beginning to brown around the edges, 18-20 minutes

(This was Melissa Clark's recipe from the New York Times and I can't recommend it highly enough!)

This is a perfect fall muffin--good for October, Thanksgiving, Christmas, anytime really. Do you have a favorite baked treat for this shoulder season? 


  1. These corn muffins look delicious, Lucy . . . I’m sure your friend really enjoyed them. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    One of our fall favorites is Apple Cider Donut Cake . . . here’s the recipe:


    1 box yellow cake mix
    1 small box instant vanilla pudding
    3/4 cup apple cider
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    4 eggs
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 cup coarsely shredded peeled tart apples (2 medium)

    3 tablespoons butter, melted
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Heat oven to 350°F. Generously spray 12-cup fluted tube cake pan with baking spray with flour.

    In large bowl, beat cake mix, instant pudding, apple cider, 1/2 cup melted butter, the eggs, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and the nutmeg with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in apples. Pour into pan.

    Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Let stand 20 minutes; run metal spatula around outer and inside edges of pan to loosen cake. Remove from pan to cooling rack; place cooling rack over waxed paper.

    Brush top and sides of cake with 3 tablespoons melted butter. In small bowl, mix sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon until blended. Press 2 tablespoons cinnamon mixture up side and top of cake with hand. Let stand 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining cinnamon mixture. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

  2. The muffins and the cake both sound so good! I am away from home and recipes today, but an easy fall treat is apple crisp using oats in the topping. With fresh picked apples? To die for.

  3. The muffins sound over the top yummy. The autumn recipe that I always go to is one from Bon Apetit from years ago called Joan's Pumpkin Bread. It makes 3 to 4 loaves depending on how large you want them to be. I usually freeze at least 2 and serve them at any meal because they are "parve." We keep kosher style at home so we do not serve anything made with milk at a meat meal and vice versa.
    Ingredients: 4 cups sugar, 1- 29 oz. can pumpkin, 3 eggs 1 cup vegetable oil, 5 cups flour, 1 TBLSP baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1-1/2 tsp cloves, 1 tsp salt, 2 cups coarsely chopped dates, 2 cups coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans. Grease pans, set oven at 350 F. Mix wet ingredients in large bowl. Mix dry ingredients together then add to wet ingredients and mix well, stir in dates and nuts. Bake about an hour or until toothpick inserted near center of loaf comes out clean and bread has pulled away from the sides of the pan. This week, the larger loaves took about 1 hr. 10 min. Yummy with whipped cream cheese or by itself.

    1. that looks good Judy, and you could pull one out of the freezer at a moment's notice!

  4. Edith, you beat me to it! Apple crisp--or apple-berry crisp--always moves to the head of my baking list this time of year!

  5. I am at my daughter’s today, and we are having Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. All six of my grandchildren will be here, ranging in age from 28 down to 7. There are pumpkins waiting to be carved and turkey waiting to be eaten Trios should be a splendid day on the lake. The corn muffins will have to wait until I get home.

    1. an early Thanksgiving sounds wonderful! Enjoy the day with your family

  6. That cornbread sounds delicious... a cut above what I usually make (Krusteaz mix with frozen corn mixed in). But very sweet? And Joan that donut cake sounds fabulous. Printing and saving...

  7. I saw the same recipe in the paper and had to tear it out! So glad someone has recommended it - now I can't wait to get baking. Today is the perfect day for that - dark and rainy!

  8. I'm a huge fan of apple crisp though any time of the year for that is A-OK in my book. And since Edith seems to like it so much, I'm thinking it needs to go on the Pans 'N Pancakes menu for when I stop by for lunch in southwest Indiana someday. :D

    I like pies too. Cherry, blueberry and apple are my favorites.

    I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to baked treats. If it is the basic stuff and someone else is making it, I'm good.

  9. These sound absolutely yummy, Lucy. I wonder if you could sub whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour? I do that when I make corn bread and it's fine.

    1. I'm sure that would work Debs. They would be a little more dense, that's all

    2. I always sub in Ww flour in my muffins, pancakes, quick breads. Not cakes or pies, though.

  10. Loving the cornbread muffins, thanks Lucy I shall try them. Fall baking; I’m not a very accomplished baker but this is my Fall bake go to, put up for the rest of the winter. Fall sauce. Pick or Buy end of season tomatoes (seconds), onions, garlic and squash.I put up 50# of tomatoes this year in 4 bakes.
    Take the largest roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and spread over the surface, (I use the turkey pan)
    chop 4 onions per pan,
    Add 10+# of tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters after trimming out the ‘bad’,
    chop the squash, I like zucchini for this recipe,
    add a separated but unpeeled head of garlic,
    mix veggies and drizzle with olive oil again, then sprinkle with salt or not.
    Bake at 350 degrees for a couple of hours, turning veggies once or twice.
    Put veggies through a food mill, bottle and freeze.
    You have a winter of soups, soup, or pasta sauce base, limited only by imagination. Hope you try this.
    Of course if you live in a temperate zone you may have tomatoes year round. Lucky person.

    1. We didn't have quite the crop of tomatoes that we are used to, so only a few sun gold cherries left over. But your sauce sounds delicious and easy!

    2. You had me up to the zucchini. I'm always looking for recipes for my sister who ttys to more vegetarian than cavernous when eating. She absolutely abhors zucchini. Do you think an acorn or butternut squash would work?

  11. Favorite recipes include non dairy and wheat free when baking. I look forward to trying out the recipe with modifications.

    Happy Sunday!

  12. Goodness, those muffins sound decadent, Roberta/Lucy! All that butter--how can you go wrong?

    This is the time of year I start making bread, because it's our favorite accompaniment to homemade soups. I make two different ones, both no-knead, because I'm too much of a wimp to knead bread. Here's one recipe, still almost the best whole wheat bread I've ever had, because it uses only a half-cup of honey over four loaves. It's a very simple recipe. I'm anxious to make it using my new ovens because there's a proofing function.

    Easy No-Knead Bread
    This recipe was in a local weekly paper in the mid-1980’s. That's how long I've been making this!

    Use the largest bowl you have. Add 5 cups warm water. It shouldn’t be hot; it should feel about right for a baby’s bath. Then sprinkle in 2 packages of dry yeast. Don’t stir it; just sprinkle it in the water. Let stand 2 or 3 minutes, then add:

    8 T honey (1/2 Cup)
    8 T shortening (Crisco works great)
    8 tsp.salt (about 2 ½ T)
    6 C flour

    Beat these ingredients together for three minutes. Then add 6 more cups of flour. Stir additional flour in well. I usually use a wooden spoon. Don’t tear at the dough, just use the back of the spoon and keep smooshing until it’s smooth. It will still be a soft dough.

    Cover the bowl. Set it in a warm place. By a heat vent, on top of the refrigerator, or on the washer or dryer while they’re running—all good places. I sometimes put it on the table in the sun. It should not be in a draft, or the bread will not rise as well. Let rise until the dough is doubled in size.

    Stir it down with the back of the spoon, smooshing instead of tearing the dough.

    Grease four 9 by 5 loaf pans. Tip the bowl and let the dough “fall” into the pans, cutting it with a metal spoon when you have enough in each pan. Mound the tops of the loaves by pushing down on each side and ends. Cover the loaf pans with a dish towel. Let them rise again in a warm place until not quite doubled.

    Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes for the large pans, or 30 minutes for the small ones. Flip the loaves out of the pans when taking them from the oven. (If you let them sit in the pans they will “sweat” and be soggy.)

    If you like a soft crust, brush the tops of the loaves with butter and cover lightly with a towel while they cool on the rack. If you prefer a crisp crust, let leaves cool on a rack without covering them.

    You can use sugar instead of honey and exchange about 2 or 3 cups of whole wheat flour for the white. I use 9 cups whole wheat flour, and 3 cups unbleached flour.

    To show you how foolproof this bread is, instead of using 5 cups of water once, I used 6 cups. It rose all over the table, but the bread still turned out fine. Also, I didn’t let the dough rise a second time in the pans, I just put it in the oven. It needed more time, about 55 minutes total, but the bread is still wonderful. Enjoy!

    1. Meant to add that I freeze two of the loaves, and give one to my bachelor brother-in-law, who lives across the street.

    2. I was wondering how the bread freezes. I used to make bread back in the late 70's and 80's but I remember it getting stale very quickly. One loaf I sent across the country to a beau. It was a rock by the time it reached him LOL

  13. Lucy, the corn muffins sound and look delicious, but I am lazy where cornbread or corn muffins are concerned. One of our local BBQ restaurants has such delicious corn muffins that I usually get some there when I need cornbread. In fact, I'm making chili this afternoon and plan on getting some of the corn muffins to go with it.

  14. I have a great app!e cake recipe at home. I think I've shared the Stuffed Pumpkin recipe, which is really about roasting, not backing. I have an old recipe for Apricot Brandy Pound cake, it's hanging on my fridge at home. I love making a simple raspberry sauce, using frozen raspberries, to go with it, it's a nice alternative to pies at Christmas. I'm intrigued with these cornbread muffins. We always put some sugar in our cornbread and it always seemed moister that unsweetened cornbread.

    1. ok, I'm late here and surprised I'm the first to post this comment. Apricot Brandy Pound Cake!?! and you didn't post the recipe!?! It sounds absolutely wonderful. Could you share? Just among friends here? Happy post-weekend all!

    2. It's a great cake but it's at home and my apartment is in the area being evacuated in Sonoma County. I should be home tomorrow or Tuesday, remind me after Dallas and I'll post it.

    3. oy, Deana, I'm sorry now for sounding flip about your wonderful cake. I hope all is well with you and yours with those terrible fires out in CA! But, it does sound as though you're on your way to Bouchercon, so I do envy that! Have a lovely time and there are plenty of thoughts going out to the west coast these days. But I'll still want the recipe on the next JR food share.

    4. Melanie - no worries, I think I responded to you at the end of the day and about 1 hour of sleep. I'm okay. I promise to share the recipe, it was out of paper about 20 years ago.

  15. I was away and could not comment yesterday - laptop would not let me,so I am going to comment now, a day late. If laptop is behaving.

  16. 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of baking powder or 1 and 1/2 TEASPOONS? Thanks