I am coming to you with another recipe. About time, I hear you say, and you’re absolutely right. I love posting pictures of places we’ve been to, but there’s no doubt that food gives me more enjoyment – and I don’t necessarily mean just the eating bit. I love the process, the gathering of ingredients from the pantry, the assembling, the mixing, the looking-in-the-oven-to-watch-the-baking, and how lovely the kitchen smells during the baking,
unless it’s the smell of burning. It’s the washing up that gets to me, but that will be solved very soon with the help of a dishwasher, or so I hope. I digress, as usual.
Back to the recipe. So as of now I cannot bake anymore, till I settle down again during the summer. I have stopped shopping for baking stuff, of course. I just can’t believe I’m moving again next week. It is bittersweet but I won’t be sorry to leave this kitchen behind. I am looking forward to better things in that department. That being said I do have a few baking things lined up for this blog – I just couldn’t resist. I came across these beautiful little cakes on one of James Tanner’s books. They just jumped out at me. Lately I have been having a breakfast food itch, the one where I want to eat pancakes all day, every day. We know that’s not good so I spent my time trying out different options, which are not necessarily healthy, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have any salad with this. (That could be an excellent brunch option.)
Muffins in general are easy enough to make. The only problem for me is that I have rarely succeeded in turning out with a really fluffly batch. I do tend to overmix generally, most probably because for me, stirring and whisking is such good therapy! That is one thing I always try to watch out for. These polenta muffins, as every muffin recipe, will turn out as hard as a rock if you do that. So fold in your ingredients slowly and remember that a lumpy batter is what you want to end up with. One of my favourite things about them is the perfect combination of sweet and savoury. And you can always omit the frosting and have them with some ketchup or homemade salsa. Amazing taste, right there.
Send me your feedback if and when you make them. I love to hear what you think. I ended up with 14 muffins, but the quantity will depend on how much you fill the cases.
For the muffins:
- 300g polenta
- 80g plain flour
- 198g can sweetcorn, drained
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- 1 large egg
- 150ml milk
- 100g cheddar, grated
- ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes*
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 400ml buttermilk**
For the frosting:
- 30g icing sugar
- 100g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 50g soft unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup
- poppy seeds, for sprinkling on the top
Preheat the oven to 200ºC, and line a 12-hole muffin or cupcake tray with muffin cases. I wouldn’t recommend using a silicone one here.
Take one of the largest bowls you have and mix the polenta, flour, sweetcorn, baking powder, salt and pepper together.
In another large bowl or jug, whisk in the egg, milk, cheese, chilli, smoked paprika and buttermilk.
Fold in the wet ingredients in the jug with the dry ones and gently mix them together until just combined. As always, do not overmix, because the more you mix, the denser the batter will become. We want the exact opposite.
Pour the mixture into the muffin cases, trying to distribute this as equally as possible. (This mixture gave me a yield of 14, but it’s always an approximation.) Bake the muffins for around 20 to 22 minutes. If you’re not sure, insert a thin skewer to check. If it comes out clean, you’re done. Take the muffins out of the tray and let them cool.
To make the frosting, tip all the ingredients in a small bowl and combine. When the muffins are cool enough, spread a little frosting on each one and sprinkle with some poppy seeds for extra decoration. I left a couple without frosting and had them with a little bit of ketchup! Trust me, they were good!
*I am in the process of emptying my food cupboard so I used some dried spices. You can always use fresh chilli, which will definitely be and taste better.
**With regards to the buttermilk, you can substitute this with natural yoghurt. If you don’t have any, then take the same amount of milk and squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice.
(Recipe adapted from Old Favourites, New Twists, by James Tanner, Kyle Books, 2013.)