Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bacon and Scallion Corn Muffins

I have two cornbread recipes I always resort to:  my favorite, Southern Cornbread from Joy of Cooking (see 11-18-14 post) and Jim's favorite, Calico Cornbread from a Cooking Light 1997 cookbook (see 10-30-13 post).  And those are the two cornbread recipes I always make.  Always.

But I happened to catch an episode of Giada's Food Network show in which she featured these corn muffins.  I gotta tell you, she's not one of my favorites, but flipping through channels I happened to hear "Bacon and Scallion Corn Muffins."  What was I to do?  I had to try them.

A mighty tasty muffin, I must admit.  With fall so close I can feel it, I'm ready to get back in the kitchen and get ready to line up some soups, chilis, and beans (you need cooler weather and changing colors to really appreciate these dishes.)  And what can go better with these things than cornbread (ok, maybe it's the Okie in me).

Regardless, if you're looking for a variation on the standard corn bread/muffin, this is recipe you won't regret.

BACON and SCALLION CORN MUFFINS (makes 12 muffins)

8 oz (about 8 slices) applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/3" pieces
1 1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temp
1 tsp hot sauce
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal (about 7 oz)
1 1/3 cups AP flour (6 to 6 1/2 oz)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 sticks chilled unsalted  butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
5 large green onions, chopped

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400F.  Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp and brown.  Transfer the bacon to paper towels; drain and cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, and eggs.  Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and S&P in a food processor.  Drop in the cold butter cubes.  Using the pulse button, blend until the butter is cut in finely and the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Pour the dry ingredients over the buttermilk mixture.  Scatter the bacon and chopped green onions over the batter.  Using a thin, flexible spatula, fold the batter together, scraping up the liquids from the bottom each time and turning the bowl as you fold.  Do not over-fold; some dry patches are fine.  Using a rounded 1/3 cup of batter for each muffin, fill the paper liners.

Bake until puffed and browning at edges, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Let the muffins stand 5-10 minutes.  Twist each muffin in place to loosen the edges from the pan.  Life the muffins out onto a rack and cool.

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