First of all, don't go making fun of my muffin tins, they have been around longer than some of you and have seen more action than Polly Adler, Belle Watling or Rahab - combined, all working hard for a day's worth of bread, so to speak. I cannot imagine how many times they have put out.
Today's post has nothing to do with madams or baking vessels but with the art of making a down-home cornbread muffin. I just needed to get your attention. I make cornbread all the time and my preference over skillet or pan bread is a good muffin or two. More crust with every bite. The consistency has to be moist yet thick and compact. The proper ratio of flour to cornmeal will achieve that and the taste has to be buttery with a slight twang that only buttermilk can give and the flavor of corn should dominate, not sugary as many southerners think. Why, I have dined on cornbread that is sweeter than most pound cakes and many folks think that is what cornbread should taste like. Not me, it should taste like corn. As for the meal, I like a blend of white stone-ground fine processed cornmeal, white grist-milled coarse grain meal, and all-purpose flour, almost equal proportions.
I have many request for a recipe from folks that cannot find southern types of cornmeal. We tend to prefer white meal whereas yellow is preferred to the north, use what you like. After a little trial and error, I came up with this one that I would be proud to serve to any guest and to any true southerner. Enjoy!
Sho'nuff Cornbread Muffins
taste like old fashioned muffins made with grist-milled meal
2 cups self-rising white corn meal mix (White Lily tested)
1/2 cup 5-minute quick white hominy grits (Quaker tested)
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
bacon grease and cooking oil to make 1/3 cup
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl add cornmeal mix, grits and buttermilk together. Let set 30 minutes stirring once.
In a glass measuring cup, add bacon grease (I use a couple of tablespoons) and oil to make 1/3 cup. Heat in microwave 30 seconds to melt grease if solid. Add more oil if needed after melting.
Spoon 1/2 teaspoon (or less if tin is well seasoned) into each cup of a 12 muffin pan (regular size). Place in oven to heat.
Stir eggs into batter and stir in the baking powder. Stir in the remaining oil mixture combining well.
Remove tins from oven when good and hot, just smoking. Fill each cup almost to the top. I always use all the batter. The muffins will rise above the pan but will not spill over if tin is hot enough.
Bake exactly 18 minutes. Edges should be nice, crispy brown and top golden to medium brown. Remove from oven and let set about 5 minutes before filling with lots of butter or margarine.