Wednesday, May 6, 2015

savory corn muffins with scallions and cheddar

I subscribe to Cooks Illustrated magazine.  It's a great magazine for someone who wants to understand how to perfect a recipe, and why a recipes works or doesn't work.  Basically, they pick a recipe and figure out how to make it better.  It's really interesting.

Sometimes I make one of the recipes, but I tend to be very careful about what I decide to make.  Many of their perfected recipes are "perfect" because there are multiple cooking methods or extra prep steps.  That's great when you want to really create something delicious and have the time, but not so great when it's a weeknight.  I don't usually feel like making anything complicated after I spent 8+ hours at work.

A recent issue contained a recipe for savory corn muffins.  They're not the typical corn muffin; they don't have a lot of sugar.  I figured this would be good for me since I'm now sensitive to sugar.  (Of course, I didn't stop to think that corn muffins are a dangerous food for me to have around and the recipe would guarantee I'd have muffins in the house for a week!) I had a bunch of cornmeal to use up, as well as a few other ingredients.  All I had to buy for this was the scallions and sour cream so I decided to make these this past weekend.

The recipe was easy to make, but there were multiple steps.  Cooking the cornmeal and milk, melting butter, assembling the dry ingredients, then whisking in certain ingredients to the cornmeal mixture, then whisking in the dry ingredients.  It wasn't difficult.  It was just a matter of assembling the ingredients ahead of time and following the directions carefully.  And reading the directions all the way through before starting.

These muffins came out really good. They were definitely savory, not sweet at all.  Unfortunately, I couldn't taste the cheddar cheese and there was quite a bit in there. While I liked them, I think next time I will buy sharp cheddar cheese; all I had was mild, so that's what I used.  I think the scallions kind of overpowered the cheese.  In addition, I'll likely make them with my mini muffin pan in order to minimize the damage to my calorie bank; corn muffins are very high in calories and fat!

There are only nine muffins in the picture - I wanted symmetry to make a pretty picture.  I got 15 muffins from this recipe.  Maybe my regular-sized muffin tin is slightly smaller than what Cooks Illustrate used.

Savory Corn Muffins with Scallions and Cheddar

From Cooks Illustrated

2 cups yellow cornmeal, to be divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 TB sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
5 scallions, thinly sliced

  1. Heat oven to 425. Adjust the oven rack to the upper- middle position. 
  2. Either grease or line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with disposable liners.
  3. Whisk 1 1/2 cups cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, mustard and cayenne together in a medium bowl. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine milk and remaining 1/2 cup cornmeal. In a microwave, cook cornmeal–milk mixture for 1 1/2 minutes, then whisk thoroughly.  Continue to microwave in 30-second increments, mixing in between, until the mixture is thickened to a batter-like consistency. The whisk will leave a clear line across the bottom of the bowl that slowly fills in. This will take 1 to 3 minutes longer. 
  5. Whisk butter, sugar, and sour cream into cooked cornmeal until combined. 
  6. Whisk in eggs, scallions, and cheese until combined. 
  7. Fold in flour mixture until thoroughly combined and the batter is very thick. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups; it will mound slightly above the rim.
  8. Bake until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 13 to 17 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. 
  9. Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from tin and let cool 5 minutes longer. Serve warm.


  1. This sounds interesting. I have never used cornmeal before, but I might give this a go. Me personally I would add bacon. :) In fact these sound like they would be a great breakfast muffin with bacon. The other half would totally be on board for that!

  2. I think bacon would be a great addition! I didn't even think of that. I think there could be many variations on this muffin.