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Monday, February 16, 2009

How to Bake Moist, Fluffy Corn Muffins

I have to admit that I don't have a lot of experience with corn muffins. Generally, I make my muffins according to the directions on the back of the Jiffy mix box and call it day. But after trying this recipe from Cook's Illustrated, I'll never eat a Jiffy muffin again. This recipe produced jumbo-sized, moist and fluffy muffins. According to Cook's Illustrated, the secret is using a combination of sour cream, milk, and butter. This recipe is definitely not for those looking for a low-fat muffin, but if you love corn muffins and are looking for a great from-scratch recipe, you need look no further.

Cook's Illustrated Corn Muffins

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup fine stone-ground yellow cornmeal (the cookbook recommends Arrowhead Mills brand)
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
8 tbsps (1 stick), unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (I always use salted butter)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to combine; set aside. Whisk the eggs in a second medium bowl until well combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add the sugar to the eggs; whisk vigorously until thick and homogeneous, about 30 seconds; add the melted butter in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add half the sour cream and half the milk and whisk to combine, whisk in the remainig sour cream and mix until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; mix gently with a rubber spatula until the batter is just combined and evenly moistened. Do not overmix. Using a large spoon sprayed with nonstick cooking spray to prevent sticking, divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, dropping it to form mounds. Do not level or flatten the surface of the mounds.

3. Bake until the muffins are light golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating the muffins from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool the muffins in the tin 5 minutes, invert the muffins on to a wire rack, stand the muffins upright, cool 5 minutes longer, serve warm.

Slather with butter and ENJOY.

Love, 40

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