Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time for Breakfast - Cornmeal Muffins

This recipe is a bit of a continuation of the post for banana bread from last week as it, too, uses baking powder to rise the dough instead of yeast. It is a simple recipe that is very quick to put together. It uses the 'muffin method' for quick breads. By that I mean, the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients are mixed separately then mixed together. The muffins are placed immediately in a pre-heated oven to 'pop' and crown. The use of cornmeal is very typically American and makes for a very crumbly (and very tasty) muffin. To avoid the graininess you sometimes get with cornmeal, it is mixed first with hot water and oil, and only afterwards is it added to the other wet ingredients. The addition of dried fruit only adds to the sweetness and makes this a wonderful breakfast bread. You can find a great collection of muffin recipes in The Bread Bible: 300 Favorite Recipes, a cookbook that should be in everyone's collection. Not a typical muffin but well worth trying. Believe me, you'll love it!

Here's What You'll Need:
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1/3 cup very hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder

about 1 cup assorted dried fruit chopped coarsely ( I used cranberries and apricots)

Here's What You'll Need to Do:
Pre-heat the oven to 425 F (220 C).

1. Place the cornmeal in a large bowl then add the hot water and the oil and set it aside to soak. It should stand for at least 15 or 20 minutes.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs with the sugar, salt and vanilla extract.

3. In yet a third bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder.

4. Mix the egg and sugar mixture to the cornmeal mixture, mixing to incorporate. Finally, mix this mixture into the flour mixture. Mix only to combine. It is OK if there are a few lumps.
5. Sprinkle the chopped dried fruit over the batter and mix only very slightly to incorporate.
6. Spoon the batter,, getting some fruit in each scoop, into a prepared muffin pan filling almost to the top. By filling to the top, and keeping the sugar content lower, the muffins will 'peak' and not spread too much in the oven.

7. Bake for 5 minutes then lower the temperature to 350 F (170 C) and bake for another 20 minutes or until just brown.

8. Let the muffins sit in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing them from the pan to a rack to cool.

9. Bon appetit!

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