bacon scallion cornbread muffins with cheddar and honey butter

Dear Cornbread,

I will not let you break me.

These muffins had everything going for them: cheese, bacon, honey butter, bacon. I took all those things for granted.

The original recipe came from Cook’s Illustrated, and it called for cornmeal, as nearly all corn bread recipes do. I didn’t have cornmeal, but I did have corn flour. I took a chance and substituted one for the other (WHAT?! Improvised baking!), and they turned out… mostly fine.

(I also substituted brown sugar for granulated sugar, and bacon fat for some of the butter. I’m truly living on the edge.)

Fresh out of the oven they were wonderful – maybe a little less coarse than regular cornbread, but awfully tasty.

Upon reheating, the texture was off – a little rubbery, somehow. The flavor was great, and the whipped honey butter was earnest in masking the texture funk, but they still weren’t good enough for company.

When I toothpick-tested them, they seemed underdone. So I put them back in the oven, and they got a lot darker than I wanted, and yeah. Rubbery. Next time I’ll make them smaller, and take them out sooner.

I was punished for my recklessness with rubbery corn muffins. But I’ll make the adjustments and try this cornbread again.

Goonies never say die!

Recipes below the fold

Bacon-Scallion Corn Muffins with Cheddar Cheese
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Makes 12 gigundo muffins.

8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 green onions, sliced thin
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup corn flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons bacon fat
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

Fry bacon in a small skillet over medium heat until crisp and golden brown. Add scallions, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and heat through about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a plate to cool using a slotted spoon. Reserve bacon fat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

Sift flour, corn flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a large bowl; set aside.

Beat eggs in a medium bowl until well combined and light-colored, about 10 seconds. Add brown sugar to eggs; beat until thick and homogenous, about 15 seconds. Add melted butter and bacon fat in 3 additions, beating briefly to combine after each addition. Add half the sour cream and half the milk and beat briefly to combine; whisk in remaining sour cream and milk until combined.

Stir grated cheddar cheese and bacon/scallion mixture into wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix gently until batter is just combined and evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping in to form a mound.

Bake until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in the tin for 5 minutes; move to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes longer. Serve warm with whipped honey butter.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic.

Whipped Honey Butter

This is where the line is blurred between butter and frosting.

Half a stick of salted butter
1/2 tablespoon honey (I used wild blackberry honey)
Pinch of cinnamon
Tiny dash of vanilla extract

Cut the butter into chunks and beat on a low speed to loosen it. Add the honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, increase the speed to medium, and beat until completely combined and fluffy.

You can eat it with a spoon, serve on warm corn muffins, or lick it off the cat. That’s your business.

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