Cook’s notes: I didn’t have a good cornbread recipe or a well-seasoned, 10-inch cast iron skillet. What I did have was a very comprehensive book (seriously, it’s almost 400 pages) and the inspiration to make corn muffins.
These muffins are the best — no skillet required, and they can be made gluten-free. A double batch made 5 dozen mini muffins and 1 dozen regular-size muffins (the recipe’s stated yield is 12 regular size muffins, but I think you’ll get more with the corn added. Studded with real corn, these muffins are tasty hot with butter or plain at room temperature. I brought these to a potluck at work, and everyone agreed that the mini muffins were the ones they liked best.
1 cup (half of a 12 oz bag) frozen whole corn kernels, thawed (such as PictSweet brand Steam’ables)
1 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend)
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1-1/4 cups buttermilk (or regular milk)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (only if you use buttermilk)
1/3 cup sugar (you can reduce to 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup mild vegetable oil
Heat the oven to 400F, and lightly coat muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray. Cook the corn according to package directions (or use 1 cup canned corn, drained).
DRY: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
WET: In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and baking soda until the baking soda is dissolved. Whisk in the eggs, sugar, and oil.
Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl over the dry ingredients. Add the corn kernels. Stir lightly only until the mixture is just barely combined. There should be no dry spots in the batter.
Use a cookie scoop to place batter in the prepared muffin tins.
Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes for regular-sized muffins or 8 to 10 minutes for the mini muffins.
Gluten-Free Version: Use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend instead of regular flour. I used the “Gluten-Free Pantry All-Purpose Flour” mix with great results. The other ingredients in the cornbread should already be gluten-free. However, some commercial buttermilks are thickened with food starch — read the labels of all your products to be sure. Instead of the buttermilk, use regular milk and omit the baking soda.
Source: Adapted from the book Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon.