Nor’easter Sweet Corn Muffins

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In honor of today’s Nor’easter, Winter Storm Stella, we’re having a hearty vegetable chili for dinner. My go-to recipe for the past 27 years has been from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. It’s always been popular with my meat-loving and veggie friends alike, and contains zucchini, red peppers, onions, garlic, chick peas and fennel seeds. A Family Feast posted their experience making the dish, as well as the recipe, here.

I baked my favorite Sweet Cornbread recipe as muffins to serve alongside. I’m not sure how authentic this cornbread is, or where it might be considered authentic. Ratio-wise, it has a fair amount of white flour compared to cornmeal and a generous amount of sugar (as well as a tablespoon of honey) — this is a sweet cornbread! Regardless it’s always a hit with my peeps.

I usually make this bread in an 8 by 8-inch pan, but opted to make muffins today because I thought they’d freeze more easily as muffins and we currently have an abundance of baked goodies in the house. My hubby also pointed out that muffins are easier than hunks of cornbread to take and enjoy on the road.

I scooped the batter with my trusty Vollrath #16 scoop with the blue handle. I use it for all my muffin and cupcake recipes, as it measures out about a 1/2 cup of batter. The recipe makes about 13 muffins (a baker’s dozen) with a wee bit of batter leftover. I baked them for 17 minutes at 350 degrees F and they were perfectly done (no crumbs on the tester), but didn’t turn out as golden as they do when I make it in bread form. I’ll take pale and moist over golden and dry though.

Seems like the snow has now turned to sleet and rain here in our corner of Massachusetts… I’m dreading the rain-soaked snow that awaits shoveling outside. The chili and corn muffins will be a nice reward when we’re done. 🍴

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Maple Walnut Muffins

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This week, I baked Yankee Magazine’s Maple Walnut Muffins (recipe at link).

As always, I adapted the recipe to suit my taste and pantry. I replaced the (white) all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour. I reduced the amount of maple syrup, from 3/4 cup down to 1/2 cup. Instead of 1 cup sour cream, I used 1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt and 2/3 cup sour cream. I did not do the optional dip of the finished muffins in maple syrup and confectioner’s sugar.

I love how the texture turned out with white whole wheat flour. I think this maybe the first time I’ve done a straight 1 to 1 substitution in a recipe. The muffins didn’t seem overly “wheaty” or heavy. I also found them nicely (lightly) sweet with just the 1/2 cup of maple syrup; I think the full 3/4 cup amount would’ve been cloying.

My one note is that I didn’t find them particularly maple-y though. I don’t believe increasingly the maple syrup to the full amount would’ve made a substantial difference. Maybe the addition of maple extract would help?

I would also like to experiment with reducing the fat a bit. I’ve had good luck substituting unsweetened apple sauce for a portion of the butter in other muffin recipes, and might also try doing a full 1 to 1 substitution of nonfat Greek yogurt for the (full fat) sour cream.

Lastly, I felt the recipe may employ a tad too much baking soda. A tablespoon of leavening (total) for a 12-muffin recipe seems a little bit excessive to me. The muffins did have a touch of that distinctive bitter, slightly metallic baking soda flavor to them. It’s hard to describe but if you’ve ever tasted it, it’s easily detectable forever after.

Not a disappointment by any stretch of the imagination — they just need a little more tweaking!