Joy the Baker

Brown Butter Cornbread Muffins with Fresh Blueberries and Apricots

June 11, 2008

There are moments in my life when I know that I’m a baker to the core.  I had one such moment today.  Why?  Well, I was thinking about cornbread all day.  Of all things!  Cornbread.  I was turning over cornbread formulas in my head, thinking of possibilities, researching recipes and jotting down notes.  That’s how I know I’m a baker, because I think about cornbread for hours on end.  And even if I were stuck in some random job as an accountant, I’d be the accountant that thought about cornbread all day.

It turns out that thinking about cornbread is like opening a can of worms.  There are so many styles! There’s the sweet style cornbread with sugar and honey.  There’s the dry unsweetened cornbread with fresh kernels mixed in.  There’s skillet corn bread.  There’s corn muffins.  I could go on and on… and I did, in my head, all day.  It had to be just right.  So I came up with Brown Butter Cornbread Muffins with Fresh Blueberries and Apricots.

Allow me a moment of self congratulation because frankly, I nailed it!

And now I’ll share.

While these muffins are simple in their ingredients, they pack the maximum amount of flavor.

Let’s start with the butter.  Browned butter brings out an almost nutty flavor in the butter.  That little bit of time over the fire adds a tremendous depth of flavor, and aroma.

Cornmeal is important too.  I chose a medium grain stone ground cornmeal.  The medium grind adds just a hint of crunch.  Brilliant!

Fruit was my summer addition to these muffins.  If you wanted to serve the muffins with chili or something savory then leave the berries out.  As a morning muffin, the fresh blueberries and diced apricot add an delicious touch.

Other delicious contributing factors-  sour cream and honey.  Sour cream gives the muffins a light tender crumb. Yes, more tender than buttermilk.  And honey adds a depth of flavor to the sweetness.

Now, these muffins aren’t over the top sweet.  If you like the your muffins on the sweeter side, increase the sugar from 1/4 cup to a heaping 1/3 cup.

Brown Butter Cornbread Muffins with Fresh Blueberries and Apricots

Print this Recipe!

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal, medium grind

1/4 cup sugar, or a heaping 1/3 cup for sweeter muffins

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted until lightly brown

2 Tablespoons honey

1/3 cup blueberries

1/2 cup fresh apricots, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

On a stove top, in a skillet, melt 3/4 of a stick of butter over medium high heat.  After the butter is melted, keep an eye on the pan, occasionally swirling the butter, until the crackling stops and the butter is a light amber color.  This may take about 5 minutes.  Measure about 1/4 cup of melted butter and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine egg, sour cream, milk and honey.  Stir until no lumps remain in the sour cream.  Pour browned butter into the egg mixture and stir to incorporate.

Stir wet ingredients into dry until just moistened.  Fold in blueberries and diced apricots.

Spoon batter into lined muffin tins and bake at for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  These also freeze very well and defrost in the microwave after 15 seconds.  Hope you enjoy!


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