I was thinking about this recipe all day today now that blueberries are back at the markets and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t find it on my own blog. Turns out I failed to post it after writing it last year (or even further ago). Making some of these tonight.
My cupboards are stuffed with ingredients I’ve used for one recipe and then promptly forgotten about. Half empty packages of rice noodles, more Israeli cous cous than I know what to do with, cans of coconut milk and assorted pastas.
And amongst all those bags and packages are several of finely ground cornmeal, which I’ve bought to use in corn bread or polenta, then forgotten about and bought more. (I might be a candidate for some sort of kitchen-related hoarding intervention.)
I like polenta; I like corn bread. I even liked the bit of cornmeal added to the crust of a Rhubarb Crostata I made a couple of weeks ago. But none of these things has me getting through those bags of cornmeal quickly.
So, when I was looking for baking inspiration on Monday and stumbled across a Nigella Lawson recipe for Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins, I knew exactly what my next project would be. (To add to my eagerness, I had a large basket of blueberries in my fridge slowly wrinkling that needed to be dealt with immediately; clearly, it was a sign.)
Like all muffins, this recipe is easy and comes together quickly.
But the addition of just a bit of cornmeal makes them more than just your average blueberry muffin. The top – which stays flattened – becomes a tasty golden crust, revealing beneath a tender and light muffin dotted with blueberries.
It’s neither overly sweet nor cakey, which seem to be more cupcake-like traits than muffin ones. And, while very soft, the cornmeal gives it a heartiness.
Having one more recipe in my arsenal that uses up my abundance of cornmeal – and such a tasty one to boot – pleases me.
And the fact that I got to use up some festive, polka dotted cupcake liners at the same time made this an even better way to clean out the cupboards.
Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins
This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s book Kitchen. I added a few more blueberries than called for and added a pinch of salt, which you can feel free to leave out, but I think rounds out the flavours in baked goods. The muffins were fully baked at the 15-minute mark, so consider checking a minute or two early.
Lawson suggests they are best eaten on the day they’re made, but can be stored in an airtight container, layered with parchment paper, then reheated in a warm oven for 5 to 8 minutes.
- 1 cup (250 mL) flour
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp (140 mL) cornmeal
- 2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
- ½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
- 2/3 cup (150 mL) sugar
- pinch salt
- ½ cup (125 mL) vegetable oil
- ½ cup (125 mL) buttermilk
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup (175 mL) blueberries
Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C) and line a muffin tin with papers.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and sugar and salt. In a measuring jug or bowl, pour the oil and buttermilk and whisk or fork in the egg.
Stir the oil mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients – remembering that lumpiness is a good thing when making muffins – and fold half the blueberries into your thick golden batter.
Divide this batter between each muffin case (they will be about two-thirds full) and drop the remaining blueberries on top; you should have about 3 for the top of each muffin.
Cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, till a cake tester comes out cleanish (obviously it will be stained if it hits a berry). Leave the muffins in the tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins, in their cases, to the wire rack to cool a little (not too much) before you serve or eat them.