Inspired by a recipe for New England Spider Cake, these muffins don’t require a “spider,” or even resemble the insect.
“Spider” is the name of the cast-iron skillet, used in Vermont for making cornbread. This recipe works just as well in a muffin pan as in the cornbread skillet used during the nineteenth century.
The “trick” to making these muffins is to pour cold cream over the batter, prior to placing it in the oven. As the muffins bake, the cream sinks, forming a custardy middle layer. This produces a muffin of different textures and flavors: the center is sweet and creamy while the top and bottom is buttery and crisp.
This cornbread-pudding-soufflé is like nothing else! Now, take pleasure in telling your children you’re making “spider muffins.”
Spider Muffins (Creamy Cornbread Muffins) (makes 24)
2 cups milk
4 tsp white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
Maple syrup, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.
2. Combine the milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside to sour (wait 5 to 10 minutes — you’ll see the milk get lumpy).
3. In another bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
4. Whisk eggs into the soured milk. Stir into dry ingredients and set batter aside.
5. Add melted butter to batter (batter will seem liquidy).
6. Distribute batter evenly into 24 muffin cups.
7. Pour cream into the center of each muffin cup.
8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown.
9. Serve warm, with maple syrup if you’d like.
Now, put on some cozy slippers, curl up, and indulge in sweet, simple deliciousness.