Not quite cornbread in the traditional sense, these joyous little bursts of bready sweetness are ideal for mopping up a chilli, topping with an egg and some greens for a speedy brunch, or packing in a picnic or lunchbox. I like to double the batch and pop some in the freezer for a lazy day.
MAKES 8 GENEROUS MUFFINS from 8p each . This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change.
handful of fresh parsley or coriander, very finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C/ 400 ° F/ gas 6, then lightly grease your baking receptacle of choice (be it a deep muffin tin, a 450g/ 1lb loaf tin or a 20cm shallow round cake tin –any will do but baking times will vary depending on what you are cooking in) to stop your delicious soon-to-be-cornbread from sticking to it.
Add the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar to a large mixing bowl with the chilli flakes or a pinch or two of cayenne and give it a stir. Mash the sweetcorn in a bowl roughly with a fork then fold through the muffin mixture –you can roughly blitz it in a blender for a smoother consistency if you like, it depends on your feelings towards ‘texture’ in your loaves (and if you have fussy children, teenagers or even grown-ups in your house who will eye easily-identifiable vegetables in bread with suspicion and realise it’s not the ‘cake’ you might have told them it was). Add the onion and parsley or coriander to the muffin mix; if you’re blitzing the corn in a blender or food processor, feel free to fling these in too for an easy life.
Make a well (a sort of hole) in the centre of the mixing bowl and crack in the egg, then pour in most of the milk and beat in the butter or oil to form a soft and slightly sticky dough –it should be looser than a normal bread dough but a lot thicker than a batter –if it struggles to fall off your spoon, you’re doing it right. If it’s too runny, add an extra tablespoon of flour. If it’s too stiff, add a splash more milk or a little water to loosen it.
Pour the batter into the tin you’re baking in and sprinkle the top with flour. If making a loaf, score a split down the centre –in Soda Bread Theory, this is to let the fairies out, and I like the thought of fairies baking my bread, so I always do this. If making muffins, make a small X in the top of each one. Place in the centre of the oven –a loaf will need 40 minutes to cook, the muffins around 18, but check after 15 minutes and insert a sharp knife into the centre to check that they are cooked through –it should come out clean with no sticky bits on it.
Take out of the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. The bread will need a further 10 minutes cooling to firm up before slicing, whereas the muffins are ready to eat almost immediately, if you have an asbestos tongue, that is . . . I like to dip mine warm into softened butter, or halve them and fill them with grated cheese while still warm and let it melt and stick together in the middle. The muffins will keep for 3 days in an airtight container. If I make the loaf, I slice it and freeze it in slices, ready to be toasted or defrosted at will. The muffins freeze well, too.
Recipe from ‘Cooking On A Bootstrap’ by Jack Monroe. Photography by Mike English. Like this? Made it? Comment below!
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All text copyright Jack Monroe.