There are some common, easy to spot clues that tell you it’s September, that fall is finally here! Kids are going back to school, leaves are just about to start their turning to oranges and reds, pumpkin spice takes over the world…
Yeah, that doesn’t happen in Southern California. The kids have been back in school since mid-August. All of our foliage is a wonderfully uniform shade of brown (thank you severe drought). Pumpkin spice–okay that has already started to take over. It’s unfortunate that we don’t get four seasons (I like to joke that LA has two seasons: Hot and Less Hot), but at the same time it means that we can still have cookouts through til October 😉
My dad knows how to make the most amazing BBQ food. So good that we’ve had people try to sneak into our house on nights they hear he is cooking. And he is a lot like me with baking. He does everything from scratch: the rub, the BBQ sauce, the coleslaw, the everything. So of course when we had a BBQ dinner for my brother’s birthday, I chipped in with my own from scratch contribution: cornbread muffins.
“So you just made cornbread in a muffin tin then?” Well actually no; cornbread muffins are a bit different from cornbread you make in a pan or skillet. They still have that density and delightfully corn taste from the cornmeal, but the crumb is softer and looser and more moist. The texture is closer to a cupcake than a cornbread (oooo just got an idea for corn cupcakes, adding that to the list) thanks to adding a little oil to the liquid ingredients, keeping the muffins from feeling gritty or heavy. Oh, and I made them gluten free so everyone can have cornbread at their cookouts
What I love about the muffins is that they aren’t overly sweet and the corn taste is subtle but still present. Baking them in a muffin tin also makes them pre-portioned and easy to travel. That makes them feel more versatile than just a BBQ dinner side dish. But my favortie part, like my FAVORITE things about these muffins, how well they hold up to a topping of salted butter and a drizzle of honey. Like I can’t even describe it. You’ll have to try it to believe it. And luckily if you live in SoCal, you can probably try them this weekend because–pool party anyone?
cornbread muffins *gluten free!*
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (I used King Arthur Flour’s gluten free multi-purpose flour, find it in your regular grocery store)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line or spray a standard muffin tin and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cooled butter, oil, and sugar until there are no lumps. Add in the egg and whisk until fully incorporated. Whisk in the buttermilk.
Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. If making this with gluten free flour, you do not need to worry about overmixing the batter. If using wheat flour, stir the ingredients until just combined because you can overmix the batter in this option.
Fill liners to just below the top. Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F. With the muffins still in the oven, reduce the heat to 350°F and continue baking for 15-18 minutes until the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.