Last weekend I had the rare privilege of spending the day alone with my 9-year-old grandson. His parents and brother, Charlie, had other commitments as did my husband so that left just Henry and me to entertain each other. Henry has a strong interest in the culinary arts, his specialties being brewing espresso for his parents (he asked for an espresso machine for Christmas last year) and Swedish Almond Cake which he makes often and quite well. Thinking he might need to expand his repertoire, I suggested we try making a recipe I recently saw on face book. It called for fresh corn and jalapeno both of which are in the height of their season and it was one I had wanted to try as well. A new recipe for both of us, we embarked on our venture. Things were going well until his family returned as we were just finishing up the batter. Distracted, we had the batter in the pan before we realized we had forgotten two essential ingredients, the fresh corn and the cheddar cheese, a Wisconsin must have. Not to worry, we decided, we could add it on top and hope it would sink as they baked, which it did. Earlier we had decided to add our own touch of crumbled bacon because, well, we both agreed, bacon makes everything better. We also divided the batter in half so we could make some without the jalapeno as he is not a spicy kind of guy. I really liked the jalapeno in there but you can decide for yourself. Before they completed baking, the boys were swimming and I think the muffin project was already forgotten until I served them poolside with some beverages and a bit if butter, just in case they were dry, which they weren’t. Well received by all, I sent some home for a later snack or to serve with dinner.
Here is how it goes down:
Jalapeno Corn Muffins Makes 12 muffins
Recipe adapted from The Comfort of Cooking
- 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, melted
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh or thawed corn kernels (optional, but highly recommended) Note: We used fresh corn I had grilled the night before.
- 4 slices of crisp apple wood smoked bacon crumbled (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, or 325 degrees F for convection.
- Get a medium-size bowl and combine the butter, sugar, and agave nectar (we used local honey), then whisk the eggs and buttermilk in. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, put a tablespoon of lemon juice in a measuring cup and fill it the rest of the way to the one-cup mark with milk. Let the mixture sit for five minutes, and you’ll have buttermilk.
- In a separate bowl, sift the cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking soda together. Then add this mixture to the medium bowl of butter and sugar and agave, being careful not to over-mix. Stop mixing once you don’t see the flour anymore, and then fold in the jalapeño, corn, and cheese.
- Grease a muffin tin (or use parchment cups) and then add the batter to each of the 12 cups, filling each about 3/4 of the way. If there is leftover batter, spread it among all the cups – just make sure they are only almost filled to the top.
- Bake for 25 minutes or about 20 minutes for convection, testing the center of the muffin with a toothpick. If the toothpick does not come out clean, put the muffins back in the oven for about five minutes.
These muffins were very moist, the corn added a nice texture, the bacon a hint of smokiness and the pepper a tiny bit of heat. My jalapeno’s were not especially hot so I will add more next time. They retained their moistness the following day which is rare for most cornbread recipes. I would recommend you try this one.
Before I close I have to share some of the conversation that ensued while we were together in the kitchen. It seems Henry has long desired a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Knowing how expensive they are, he has been trying to save money by selling his “soon to be famous” coffee at garage sales and doing chores for cash. He was also hoping his Mom would assist with some extra money she made directing an art academy this summer. It appears his dream came true this week with the arrival of a silver model that he proudly displays on the kitchen counter. Serving as incentive I got word that he has expanded his culinary repertoire even further this week as he learned to make cinnamon chocolate chip cookies, beer bread (grandpa’s favorite) and French bread. Move over, Swedish Almond Cake, this boy is on fire!
No doubt Henry will continue to spread the love, as he explores the benefits of his new kitchen equipment and I hope you will do the same, one dish at a time. Until next time I’m cooking the season and sending love from my home to yours. Jeanne