Spider Muffins (Creamy Cornbread Muffins)

DSC_0005 DSC_0012

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
2 eggs
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.

 

Advertisements

Muffin Pan Popovers

DSC_0278 DSC_0281DSC_0295 DSC_0282 DSC_0276 DSC_0272

Delicious and perfectly puffy, these popovers look like a picture in a magazine. They are crisp on the outside and custardy on the inside.

Before attempting this recipe, I thought popovers were tricky to make, only by pastry chefs in restaurants. But this recipe is full-proof – just whisk the ingredients, pour into tins, and bake (no peeking!). A half hour later, the most glorious puffed pastries emerge. These hollow culinary treats are nicely eggy on the inside and easy enough for my kids to make. You need only five ingredients and a muffin tin to pull them off.

It’s always best to eat popovers fresh from the oven, but if you need to make them ahead of time, just as you’re ready to eat, warm them at 350 F for about 5 minutes, until warm and crispy again. (My kids like them soggy, too, ‘though).

These popovers make a great side dish for a Christmas or holiday dinner. They are wonderful for breakfast with jelly or honey or butter.

Popovers freeze well – place in an airtight bag or container for up to three months.

DSC_0200

Baking Tips:

*To get the popovers to puff, heat the empty muffin pan in a very hot oven before pouring in the batter. Then, halfway through the baking time, lower the heat to let them dry out.
*Frothing the batter just before you pour it into tins helps popovers puff.
*Cutting a slit in the bottom of each popover helps steam escape as they cool, which gives a great effect.
*Keep the oven door closed during baking to ensure a consistent oven temperature and prevent the popovers from deflating.

Muffin Pan Popovers (makes 12 small or 6 large)

1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter until completely combined. Add flour and salt and whisk until frothy and bubbly.
3. Preheat oven to 450 F. Let popover batter rest while the oven heats (this adds texture and gives the flour time to absorb the liquid).
4. Put muffin pan in the oven for 2 minutes to warm.
5. Remove pan from oven and distribute remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter between the muffin cups. Whisk the batter to froth, again, and fill each cup halfway.
6. Bake popovers for 15 minutes. Do not open the oven door during baking (or popovers will deflate).
7. Reduce the heat to 350 F and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes. Now you can open the oven door to check popovers. They should be golden brown, dry to the touch, and sound hollow when tapped.
8. Remove popovers to a wire cooling rack. Pierce bottoms with a knife to allow steam to escape. Cool just enough to handle comfortably.
9. Eat immediately.

Honey Corn Muffins

DSC_0125

There is nothing worse than dry cornbread that gets stuck in your throat. That’s the reason I use a mix– I trust it. But trust me, these plush muffins are soft, fluffy, sweet, rich and moist.

Yellow. Handheld. Still crumbly like cornbread. Moist and fluffy with a wonderful honey flavor. The recipe is so easy. Kids love the bright yellow color, not to mention the wonderful honey flavor. Bake a batch for Thanksgiving dinner or just because.

DSC_0151  DSC_0128

Honey Corn Muffins (makes 12)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey, plus more for drizzling
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 stick (8 Tbsp) salted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, mix milk, eggs, honey, oil, butter and Greek yogurt.
4. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
5. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
7. Drizzle with honey and add a pat of butter before serving.

 

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

DSC_0008   DSC_0006

A flawless combination: dried cranberries and white chocolate. These muffins are loaded with both. Soft and fudgy on the inside, and wonderfully crunchy on top. Every bite is dense, sweet, and buttery. Pure heaven.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 18)

1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
1 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup of dried cranberries
3/4 cup of white chocolate chip

For sprinkling on tops:
1/4 cup dried cranberries
¼ cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line it with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix brown sugar and butter.
3. Add to the brown sugar and butter mixture, the egg, milk and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.
4. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
6. Fold in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.
7. With an ice cream scoop, fill muffin cups ¾ full with batter.
8. Sprinkle tops with extra dried cranberries and white chocolate chips (optional).
9. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes.

DSC_0044