Thursday, May 27, 2010

Zesty Little Corn Muffins

Very close to where we live, we have this amazing neighborhood market, Piedmont Grocery, where we buy a majority of our groceries, especially meats and seafood. The butcher counter and display case is probably around 40 feet long, fill with the freshest looking meats and seafood, and makes my mouth water every time I gaze upon it.

Anyway, because of our busy schedules, I like to throw a few ingredients in the slow cooker, and have an easy meal the next day. One of my favorite things are split pea soup with ham. It is so simple and delicious! All I put in the cooker is one beautiful ham shank I buy from the butcher (I always have them cut in half), a bag of split pea, then fill the crockpot up with water. Since the shanks have been smoked already, it gives enough flavor to the soup that I don't have to add any salt to it.

So, long story short, I started the soup last night, and I decided to make some corn muffins today to eat with it. I thought that the savory of the soup and the sweetness of the bread might go well together. I did follow the directions on the box (I had no corn in the house!), but I added some orange zest to the batter before I baked it. It was really yummy! A little on the spongy and fluffy side, and not too dense, just the way I like my cornbread!

Read on for the corn muffin recipe if you happened to have thrown the box away...

Sweet Corn Muffins
adapted from Albers (recipe on box)

makes about 18-20 muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Albers Yellow Corn Meal
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp butter, melted
Zest of 1 orange

1.  Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease or paper-lined 18 - 20 muffin cups.

2.  Combine flour, sugar, corn meal, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.

3.  Combine milk, eggs, vegetable oil and butter in small bowl; mix well. Add to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Add orange zest, mix well. Pour into prepared muffin cups filling 2/3 full.

4.  Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool slightly. Serve warm.

*Note: I cut the ingredients in half, because I didn't want to end up with 20 muffins between the two of us. Interestingly, I only had enough for 7 muffins. Also, the amount of zest depends on how much you want. I'm a big citrus fan, but without it taste just as good.


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