Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bacon Jack Corn Muffins

   Cornbread is one of my favorite things in the world.  Unfortunately my mom and grandma and anyone else on that side of the family doesn't actually use a recipe.... seriously.  Baking without a recipe?  And it's not like I can just look up some regular cornbread recipe.  This stuff is special:  lots of white cornmeal, no sugar, perfectly fluffy and moist.  I have a couple of guidelines from my mom, but that is it.  These muffins are the first batch of cornbread that have been right.  It was crazy exciting.  And they were perfect with the beefalo chili.

   So, I guess I should apologize in advance if your cornbread doesn't turn out quite right.  It has taken me two years to get this right.  The exact amount of buttermilk varies from day to day, that is the main thing.  Too crumbly?  Add more buttermilk next time.  Weirdly dense?  Add less.  I've learned the correct texture relies heavily on the batter's visual appearance before baking.  It's hard for me to explain.  Thick grits or a medium-thickness oatmeal?  If it gets to pancake batter consistency you've added too much liquid, I can tell you that much.

Bacon Jack Corn Muffins
1 C stone ground white cornmeal
1/2 C whole wheat flour*
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4-1 C buttermilk
1/2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 lrg scallions, chopped
3 thick cut slices bacon, chopped (or more...)
(cooking spray)

   Render chopped bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Drain.  Save bacon fat.
   Combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt and pepper.  Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Add egg and about 1/2 C buttermilk.  Combine.  Add a buttermilk until the consistency is correct.  Add 2 tsp of bacon fat.
   Fold in cheese, scallions, and bacon.
   Fill pre-greased muffin tins about 2/3's of the way.  (Have extra bacon fat?  Grease pan with it.)
   Bake at 400 deg F for 15-17 minutes, until tops are golden.
   Serves 6.  (Makes 12 muffins.)

*I'm not really sure why I used whole wheat flour.  Regular flour will work.  The whole wheat was delicious though.

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