Corn muffins and blueberries are a classic combination. In this recipe, the corn meal is presoaked for a softer, less gritty texture. The not-too-sweet cornbread muffins set off the blueberries perfectly. While many corn muffins have more flour than cornmeal and are almost cake-like, this recipe maintains its cornbread roots with equal parts of each.
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1/3 cup very hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, whisked
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
- Measure the cornmeal into a large bowl. Add the hot water and oil and set it aside to soak. Let it soak for fifteen to twenty minutes. Soaking the cornmeal before mixing alleviates the gritty texture sometimes found in cornbread. For a more corn-like flavor, use a coarse-ground cornmeal.
- In the meantime, whisk the three eggs in another medium bowl. Add the granulated sugar, salt, and extracts. Stir until smooth.
- Mix the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
- Add the egg and sugar mixture to the cornmeal mixture. Stir with a spatula until smooth.Measure the flour by first whisking the flour in the bag to lighten it and then spooning the flour into the measure before screeing it off with a straightedge. If you dip the flour from the bag, it will be more packed and dense and you will have too much flour in the recipe. Cornmeal does not pack as readily as flour and we do dip to measure our cornmeal.
- Add the flour mixture all at once to the wet mixture. Stir with the spatula until just combined. Some lumps should remain. This is the classic muffin method of mixing, adding all the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mixing with a spatula only until moistened. If you stir too much, you will develop the gluten and your muffin will be chewy instead of tender. Do not use an electric mixer for this mixing.
- Sprinkle the blueberries over the batter. Do not stir. Spoon the batter into very well greased muffin tins or muffin tins lined with paper cups. Try to catch a few blueberries in each spoonful of batter. Fill the cups until full or almost full. As you stir the blueberries into the batter, especially with frozen blueberries, the juice stains the batter. If you sprinkle the blueberries on top and spoon blueberries with the batter, you will reduce the staining. Filling the cups full will help the muffins dome. If the temperature in the oven is hot enough and the sugar content is not too high, your muffins should dome instead spread.
- Bake for five minutes at 425 degrees and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for another 20 minutes or until the muffins just begin to brown. The baking time will vary depending on how well your oven retains heat after reducing the temperature. The initial hot oven creates oven spring which helps the muffins dome. Most of the oven spring is created by steam in the batter.
- If you are baking your muffins without liners, let the muffins sit in the tins for five to ten minutes before removing the muffins to finish cooling on wire racks. Cornmeal muffins tend to be fragile. You may want to consider paper liners. Because the batter sticks to paper liners, you will not get as much lift with paper liners.