Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple cornbread recipe

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I cannot look at a corn muffin without thinking about my dad. Most Sunday mornings I would go to work with him. He was a pediatrician in the days when there was no such thing as a "quick strep" test, and throat cultures were done in the office and grown out over 24 hours in a little incubator at the nurses' station. On Sundays he would go to the office, read the throat cultures, call in prescriptions for the kids who had strep and needed antibiotics, and see a few kids whose desperate parents called after a sleepless Saturday night. I would sit at the front desk, answer the phones, doodle on notepads, play with the typewriters, and pretend to be a grownup.

When we were done my dad and I would stop at the diner for pancakes (me) and a toasted corn muffin with grape jelly (him). Greek diners are a huge part of my East coast heritage. Those of you who have ever lived on the East coast will understand. In fact, the Majestic Diner in Westbury, New York, is the first place I want to go when I visit my mom and the last place I fill up before heading back to the airport. Spanikopita the size of a dinner plate. Roast chicken with a side of stewed dandelion greens. And sometimes, when I'm in the right mood, one of those big, sweet corn muffins, split, griddled, and slathered with butter and jam. My dad passed away two years ago, but every time I eat a corn muffin I can feel him licking his lips nearby.

As a kid I found cornbread and corn muffins a little dry. This might have been because my mother did not believe in butter. (Yes, really.) As I learned later, with butter, cornbread is positively intoxicating. I love its sunny yellow, the crunch of the cornmeal, and the sweet smell of warm corn. I've taken to adding grated apples to my cornbread to make it even more moist.

This is good baked in a skillet or cake pan, but I like muffins: individual servings, fewer crumbs. If cornbread is part of your Thanksgiving, you'll love these. Just be sure to put a butter dish on the table.

Apple cornbread muffins
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 Tbsp butter, cut into a few pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. If your baking powder tends to clump, as mine does, pass it through a little strainer before you put it in the bowl. (I learned this lesson the hard way; biting into a lump of baking powder or baking soda in a nice, warm, sweet muffin is no fun at all.)

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, pour the milk, then add the butter. Microwave the milk mixture on high for 30 seconds; stir, then put it in for another 30 seconds. The milk should be warm enough to melt the butter by now, but don't heat it too much - you'll see why in the next step. Stir until the butter is melted. Add the egg and beat with a fork to combine. If the milk is too hot, it will cook the egg, which you definitely don't want to do.

Whisk the milk mixture into the cornmeal mixture just until combined. Stir in the grated apple. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, which should fill each about 2/3 of the way up. Bake about 20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

26 comments:

Megan said...

I like that you added some grated apples. Now I'm thinking how good an apple cheesy corn muffin would be with butter of course! ;)

Erika said...

Yes, I bet it would be delicious with some grated cheddar cheese added too!

emily garnhart said...

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Hilary Cable said...

Mmmmmmmmm--what a great combination! I also love the addition of sharp cheddar cheese.

Deb Duchon said...

This might sound crazy, but I bake peanut butter corn muffins as bird food. It's easy - just use a corn muffin mix (I like Jiffy). I make 2 boxes worth for a dozen muffins. Follow the directions on the back of the box with a couple of changes: (1) use water instead of milk; (2) use one egg for two boxes of mix; (3) stir in one cup of melted peanut butter. That's it. Crumble one muffin on a platform feeder and stand back. Freeze the rest and defrost as needed. ps. My husband likes them, too.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog from blogger of note. I am going to go and try the Apple Cornbread Muffins right now. I am tired of dry cornbread and your recipe looks very promising. Dianne

Erika said...

@Deb - that sounds only the tinest bit crazy. You bake for the birds? What a good steward of nature you are. I just buy birdseed.

@Anon - so glad you found your way here. Come back and let us know what you think of the muffin recipe. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Caren Gittleman said...

Erika I just love the warmth that exudes from your blog. It just draws you in...could it be because I adore food? lol

I am so sorry about your Dad's passing...what wonderful memories you have with him. Isn't it so comforting to eat something that was so closely tied to someone we loved so much? I was the same with my Dad.

I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Greek/Lebanese/Middle Eastern food. I lived most of my life in Cleveland (not a lot of middle eastern food there). Moved to Michigan in 2001....Dearborn has the highest Arab population next to Iran. One wonderful thing about living here? The middle eastern restaurants are insanely good!

I also ADORE cornbread and of course...butter!
Will have to make these!

Deb Duchon said...

I make my own suet, too! lol

Avikaie said...

touching!

Anonymous said...

Erika I made the muffins yesterday and they are a big hit. My picky son has eaten four of them already. They are very moist and have a nice rich flavor. I am going to try more of your recipes soon. Your blog is great. Dianne

Momma_T said...

This recipe sounds really good. I make cornbread quite often to go with a pot of soup beans. I always make my cornbread slightly sweet so the apples in the recipe sounds delicious. I think I may try this for Thanksgiving this year. Thank you.

BonnieBanters said...

Now that sounds like an interesting recipe I'll have to try. Enjoy your blog!

Monet said...

Oh Erika, what a lovely post you have here! I just loved hearing about the connection you make with cornbread and your childhood. Now I want to write a story about a little girl who spends Saturdays with her dad, the doctor! Thank you for sharing...I'm sorry I've been a bit absent these last few days...we are just dealing with so much with baby Ryan

Hoteloscopy said...

Thanks for sharing this story about your dad =) and nice blog! really good!

YouTube Video Converter said...

so hungry now, thanks :)

Katrina V. said...

Yum -- these look like a great spin on a favorite of mine. I might try them out for Thanksgiving...

*~Christine~* said...

This recipe sounds absolutely delicious! And I'm sorry about your dad. :[ But the memories, like the cornbread at the diner, can never be taken away! :]

Shooting Parrots said...

That looks scrummy.

Barb said...

I like the memory to go with your muffins. Taste i seven more delicious when pared with happy times.

Erika said...

@Caren - you are very kind. It gives me great pleasure to know that people enjoy my words (and my recipes). I love middle Eastern food too. Lucky you, being near Dearborn!

@Deb - I've met people who made their own salt. Suet hasn't come up in conversation. Interesting.

@Dianne - so glad you and your family enjoyed them. Isn't it great when the picky eater really digs in? It happens here too with my younger son. Sometimes he just hates things, and sometimes he just loves them. I rarely know which it will be.

@Momma - please let me know if you try the recipe, for Thanksgiving or otherwise. I'd love to hear how they turned out for you.

@Monet - no apologies necessary. I've been following updates about Baby Ryan via Facebook. Still sending healing thoughts. I know it's tough.

@Bonnie, Avikaie, Hotel, YouTube, Katrina, Parrots - thank you!

@Christine, Barb - you're right, the memories will be there forever. It's amazing to me how particularly strong they are when attached to tastes and smells, though.

moneymike said...

looking at you site always makes me SOO Hungry!!
my girlfriend loved the Apple cornbread muffins I made! thanks!

Erika said...

@Moneymike - so glad the recipe helped you impress your lady! Food is love, of course....

Anonymous said...

I just made the sweet potato soup and the muffins. Both go together very nice. The lime in the soup is interesting. I had a wee bit of cream left so i drizzled that on the soup too.

Anonymous said...

mmmm, these are delish! a party in my mouth. I did add some cheddar, too. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Finally, a cornbread recipe that isn't dry and bland!! Delicious muffins!! Thank you. Carole

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