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Corn muffins are one of the simplest muffins of all, and they're also my favorite. Not only do I appreciate the short list of pantry ingredients and the easy whisk-in-one-bowl method, but I like the crunch and gritty texture of the cornmeal and its sweet, earthy taste. And out of any muffin variety except bran, a corn muffin feels healthier and less like cake. (Though trust me, my appetite has no objections to cakey muffins).
As basic and bare boned as this recipe is, I intended it to have a much more layered flavor profile. At a restaurant years ago, I tasted a unique and delicious cornbread which was full of honey and cheddar and speckled with black pepper. Wanting to recreate those flavors, I experimented with a few batches of muffins. But since I wanted to serve these for breakfast, I just wasn't sold on the mix of sweet and savory flavors going on. After taking out the black pepper, and then the cheddar, I ended up with a simply moist honey muffin that I couldn't stop chowing down on.
Some may see it as boring, but honey is a perfect stand alone complement to the nutty cornmeal. Keeping the flavors pared down let the corn flavor come through while still achieving a flavored muffin. The sweetness level is at the perfect pitch: the combination of honey and sugar has just enough honey flavor without being overly sweet. For bigger honey cravings, lash on a dollop of the rich honey butter. Simply put, simple is often best.
About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of the new cookbook One Bowl Baking: Simple From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (Running Press, October 2013), and available at Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Powell's, The Book Depository. Watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. Follow her Chocoholic, Chicken Dinners, Singapore Stories and One Bowl Baking columns on Serious Eats. Follow Yvonne on Twitter as she explores Singapore.