blueberry cornbread muffins

I'm a recipe collector. I can't help myself. I snap photos of recipes in books, I ask for recipes from restaurants; I inevitably catalog them in my enormous recipe book and seek them out when I want that exact item again.

I first made these muffins when I was a junior in college. I remember finding recipes online, going through and choosing the parts I liked, and creating these muffins. The apartment I was living in had a small, dingy kitchen with an oven that was unpredictable at best, but they were fantastic. I took them to the barn where I was working at the time, and they were gone almost instantly. 

Then...I lost the recipe. Gone into the ether. I always hoped it was somewhere I would find it, eventually.

And wouldn't you know it? I found the card. Blueberry Corn Muffins, it says on one side. Hot pink pen clearly marking out the recipe; water and oil marks notwithstanding. When I transcribe recipes for myself, they can read a bit cryptic. "Soak cornmeal. Combine eggs+S+S+vanilla. Add dry-wet." Fortunately, I can usually decipher my own shorthand, and I made these muffins again.

Absolutely delicious. They aren't too sweet, almost the flavor profile of a scone. Excellent with a pat of salted butter just when they come out of the oven; equally good three days later with some cream cheese in the toaster. Perfect when blueberries are in season, but if you can't find any fresh, use good frozen berries. Be sure to fold them in gently at the very end, unless you like blue streaks through your batter.

Here's how it's done:

Preheat your oven to 425. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan well with butter or line with muffin cups. Soak the cornmeal with the hot water and the oil, stirring well to combine. Let this sit for at least ten minutes to allow the cornmeal to soften- otherwise your muffins will be gritty. You want your water to be HOT! 

While the cornmeal is soaking, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.

Add the egg mixture to the cornmeal, stirring well to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring with a spatula until well incorporated. Don't be like me. Use a bigger bowl for the cornmeal mixture so you can add dry-wet.

Once your batter is well combined, gently stir in your blueberries. Ideally, they will be dry- this will keep them from spreading juice through your batter. If not- they'll still be delicious!

Now, I'm going to tell you about my secret weapon for muffins and cupcakes. Are you ready? Yes? Good. Are you sure? I need you to commit. Okay, here it is:

It's what is affectionately termed in the restaurant industry a Portion Control #10 3.2 Ounce Scoop. Depending on the size (of which there are innumerable choices), one of these sexy kitchen tools will run you a cool 10 dollar-inis. I have...more of these than I should have. But they are eminently useful. Making pancakes? Use a scoop! Making cupcakes/muffins/individually portioned batter items? Use a scoop! Each one will come out roughly the same size and shape, which allows you to control cook time, consistency, and appearance so much better. Just tust me on this. Don't go looking for these at Sur La Table, or Williams-Sonoma...find a restaurant supply store and they will have them in spades. The one pictured here is a #10- as long as you find one that is labeled #10, the size will be the same, regardless of brand. They will hold up to countless beatings of use and in the dishwasher- sturdy workhorse tools.

Now, if you choose not to indulge in my secret weapon, I understand. You can use a measuring cup instead. I forgive you. 

See how they're all the same size? Joy. Now- you might notice- there are only nine.5 muffins in that pan. For me, having them all a little bigger and the same size is my jam. If you'd rather make them a little more shy and make a round dozen, totally your call.

Pop 'em in the oven at 425 for 5 minutes, then cook them for about 20 minutes at 350. Bake until they are lightly golden brown, firm to the touch, with a toothpick inserted in the center coming out clean of batter.

Resist the urge to turn them out right away- be sure to let them cool in the pan for at leas 10 minutes first. The blueberries turn to pockets of molten lava, and if you turn them out immediately they will 1. break apart 2. scald you in a bad, bad way. 

blueberry corn muffins (12).jpg