Let me tell you about corn muffins. Corn muffins (I will interchangeably use corn muffin or cornbread here, but be assured, I am talking about the same thing) have been a family staple for as long as I can remember, as long as my mother can remember, and as long as my Nana can remember. My Nana, born and raised in a small town in western Kentucky, has used the same muffin tin for many, many years. I think she told me since she married our grandpa at the age of 16. My mom has a memory as a young girl of hearing the corn bread batter sizzle as it hit the heated muffin tin when nana was cooking. I remember my great-grandfather telling me one of his favorite meals was cornbread soaked in buttermilk. I’ve had more meals at Nana’s house that have included corn bread than excluded this accompanient. So that is to say, cornbread and my family have a long history.
One of the things I missed the most when going gluten free was my Nana’s cornbread. I would always split it in half and load it up with hefty pats of butter before demolishing. Then it hit me — eating gluten free meant no more butter soaked corn bread. I lived this sad life for about 5 years. However, recently after a disappointing batch of sweet Bobs Red Mill gluten free cornbread, I started googling “southern style cornbread” and I stumbled upon this amazing article/recipe by Serious Eats which explains in detail everything I wanted to know about cornbread and explained why so many cornbread recipes now call for sugar! I was raised on savory cornbread, and truly hate the sweet stuff. While the recipe in the article creates cornbread that is a little “hearty and corn-y” as my family said over Christmas, I’ve slightly tweaked it to be truly reminiscent of Nana’s southern corn muffins.
Recipe notes: I noticed a texture difference when I let the batter rest/soak for 30 minutes prior to baking. When I didn’t let it rest, the resulting muffin was more crumbly and slightly more dry. If you have the time, let the batter rest before baking. Also, please use the highest quality corn meal you can find! As you will learn in the Serious Eats article, this makes all the difference!
Look at that beautifully golden corn muffin! Don’t forget the butter! (Even though there is a full stick baked inside ;))I’ll take a stack of ten for myself, please.