I’m a member of the corny cornbread contingent, liking cornbread crunchy on the outside, tender inside, with plenty of chewy corn niblets for added flavor. To get there, I’ve tried mixing fresh corn, frozen corn and canned corn into muffin batter. But better by far? Corn muffins made with dried sweet corn!
This native American staple made it’s way into pre-Civil war kitchens, adding fresh summer sweetness to the winter table. Parboiled on the cob, the kernels were then removed, dried for days in the sun, packed in clean sacks and stored, just needing a soak to reconstitute. Traditionally steeped in lukewarm water overnight, the reconstituted corn was served as a side dish, or—in old Pennsylvania Dutch fashion, even combined with noodles or chestnuts.
To my modern-day tastebuds, dried sweet corn’s pleasant, toasty flavor works best baked in cornbread. Instead of soaking the corn for a long time, I douse it with boiling water— just long enough to soften it a bit, not long enough to cause the corn to lose it’s shape or pleasant, chewy texture.
Makes 12 muffins
Chock-full-o-Corn Muffins Ingredients
- 1 Tbsp bacon fat
- 1 cup coarse stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup dried sweet corn
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 375. Coat muffin tin indentations with bacon fat.
- In large bowl, mix together pastry flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk in butter. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk and syrup. Set aside
- In separate bowl, add 1 cup boiling water to 1 cup dried sweet corn. Stir for one scant minute; drain and discard hot water.
- Combine buttermilk/egg/syrup mixture with cornmeal mixture just until incorporated. Stir in the softened dried corn. Fill each muffin tin indentation quite full of batter. Bake 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
- Remove muffin tin to cooking rack; cool slightly. Remove muffins and serve hot with butter.