Proud Yankee Cornbread Muffins
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These small but tender, and ever-so-slightly sweet cornbread muffins are hardcore enough to pass muster alongside a main course in the northeast. As a proud Yankee, I’m cool with that. Southerners may disagree, and I’m cool with that too.
“Yankee” or northern cornbread has some flour and a hint of sweetness. This is our favorite recipe for northern cornbread muffins.
Cornbread divides into two basic varieties.
Southern cornbread is completely unsweetened and made from cornmeal with no flour added. It’s often cooked in cast iron greased with bacon fat, and it’s great straight out of the oven but doesn’t stay fresh for long.
Northern cornbread (also called Yankee cornbread sometimes) is made from a mix of cornmeal and flour and often has a few tablespoons of sugar to sweeten it up just a touch. It’s more tender and will last a day or two wrapped up on the counter.
Many an American residing south of the Mason-Dixon line may scoff at Yankee cornbread, just as, in turn, I might scoff at the enormous and cloying corn muffins found at certain coffee shops and hotel breakfast buffets.
To each her own. I’m declaring for Yankee cornbread muffins. Just putting that out there.
A versatile cornbread muffin
The best part about these Yankee cornbread muffins is that they could play a convincing role in any meal.
Breakfast? Slather on the butter and jam or honey, fry up an egg, and go for it. Dinner? Make some vegetarian chili and pop a Yankee cornbread muffin on the rim of the bowl. Lunch? Leftover chili! Or black bean soup. And dessert? I can see these working beautifully as an alternative to a biscuit in strawberry shortcake.
What else? Snack? Toss a muffin in the vicinity of your face and see what happens. (Wait, why does that sound even worse than it should?)
- 1 1/4 cups (140 grams) stone-ground cornmeal*
- 3/4 (90 grams) cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 cups well-shaken buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 425°F with a rack in the center. Grease a standard 12-muffin tin or line with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Measure the buttermilk into a 2-cup liquid measure, then crack in the eggs and beat to combine.
- Pour the buttermilk mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir gently until there are no dry pockets.
- Pour in the melted butter and stir until combined.
- Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. I like to fill my 1/4-cup measure generously with batter and use it as a scoop. Bake 10-12 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove to a rack to cool slightly before serving, or cool completely and keep for up to a day or two.
*We recently bought some of this medium-grind cornmeal, and I LOVE these muffins even more now. They're oh-so golden and have a wonderful texture.