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Monday, November 3, 2008

Blue Corn Muffins

When I first started making corn bread I wanted to make the kind my Grandmother used to make in the cast iron pan shaped like little ears of corn. So, I tried several recipes for Southern Corn bread, looking for the most "traditional" corn bread I could find. Somehow, I always came up disappointed. Always too dry and crumbly. I even tried the Joy of Cooking Southern Cornbread. Then one day, to my dismay I had a light bulb moment. It appears that I actually grew up in the North, maybe Southern style cornbread was not my "traditional" cornbread.  I broke down and made the Northern Cornbread from the Joy of Cooking. Guess what? Yes, that is the one, the nice cake like texture, just mildly sweet, not at all crumbly. I guess I will always be a "Northern" girl. 
When David and I went "outside" (*see note below) to Maine this summer we wanted to pick up a few special ingredients to bring back to Alaska with us. Well, time and money got tight and we were really only able to make one stop. I did manage to pick up a bag of blue corn meal and some tamarind paste. The lack of tamarind paste was really putting a hold on a lot of Indian recipes I wanted to try. The blue cornmeal was just a fun little treat, I do think it has a more corn like flavor however.
*In Alaska the term to go outside means to go anywhere outside of Alaska.

Northern Corn Bread with Blue Corn Meal
from Joy of Cooking
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9x9 inch pan or standard 12-muffin pan or line the pan with paper cups. Whisk together in a large bowl:
1 1/4 cups stone ground corn meal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whisk together in another bowl:
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup buttermilk
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Fold in:
2 to 3 tablespoons warm melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil
Scrape the batter into the pan and tilt (if using a square pan) to spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes in a muffin pan, 20 to 25 minutes in a square pan. Serve hot.

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