With Thanksgiving fast-approaching, I know I’m supposed to be thinking about pies, expressing hot takes on cranberry sauce, or reading endless tracts on the dos and don’ts of cooking a turkey. Any self-respecting food blogger would be considering these things performatively if not practically, so perhaps I have little self-respect, because I’m not thinking about them at all.
For a number of reasons, I’ve been doing a lot of exploratory eating lately. I’m talking mandatory multi-course lunches for work-related Instagram shoots, in which almost every course was piled with meat or filled with cheese, hitting several of my favorite specialty grocers in a single day with visiting friends, a voracious appetite for regional Chinese food thanks to binge-watching Flavorful Origins on Netflix (more on that some other time) etc etc.
So what I’m thinking about now is not a showstopper to bring to my in-laws when I meet some of them for the first time over the Thanksgiving table later this week. For that, I’ll make something uncomplicated and universally delicious, like my salted caramel blondies with candied bacon, or a workhorse chocolate chip cookie infused with browned butter. Something in my muscle-memory, requiring little thought. Instead of thinking, I’m wishing for summer, that simpler time when I could wander outside dressed in linen instead of flannel, and every recipe was made better by the abundance of fresh herbs and berries at the farm.
I grew up making corn muffins from Jiffy mix, straight out of the box. I still have something of an affinity for that flavor, but I also love the high, fluffy vibes of a bakery muffin. These are somewhere in-between. The coconut sugar and olive oil in the recipe give them a more complex flavor than a boxed mix. I always keep coconut sugar in my pantry, because I love swapping it out for white sugar in recipes. It makes me feel a little better about eating dessert-like items for breakfast, and adds something extra that will keep your foodie friends guessing as to what you put in these.
These don’t take long to come together, and are easy to adapt to any season. In the summer, I like to serve them with whipped honey-butter speckled with fresh herbs. In the cooler months, bring out the jams and preserves of seasons past, or serve with with whipped butter infused with maple syrup and cinnamon for something that feels wintry and warming.
This recipe makes eight larger muffins, because we have old cast-iron tins at the farm designed to hold eight instead of twelve. Be sure to fill the tins generously, so you get a fluffy domed corn muffin and not a flat one.
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 cup cornmeal (I like stone-milled cornmeal)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk + 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 1 cup yogurt
- Preheat oven to 400 F and prepare a muffin tin by lining each cup with a square of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, yogurt, oil, and sugars.
- Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, being careful not to overmix.
- Bake in parchment-lined muffin tins for 20-25 minutes. They should be well-risen and golden brown with cracks in the tops when ready.
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