Buttermilk cornbread muffins that are soft, moist, sugar free and even pretty healthy.
Tomorrow isn’t just any Tuesday. It’s not even ‘Great Tuesday’. It’s ‘Super Tuesday’.
Super Tuesday is one of the most important days in the US presidential election calendar simply because a whole bunch of states are holding their primaries or caucuses tomorrow.
To be more precise, the following states will be voting tomorrow: Alabama, Alaska (Republicans only), Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming (Republicans only). Democrats will also be caucusing in American Samoa.
Needless to say, it’ll be a day filled with polls, campaign slogans, endless commentary by ‘experts’ and Donald Trump’s face.
As you may have noticed, most (but certainly not all) of the states voting tomorrow are in the South. In fact, this year Super Tuesday has also been dubbed the ‘SEC primary’ since so many of the voting states are part of the Southeastern Conference (a college athletics league).
So, to mark this important day in the 2016 election, it seemed only right to make something quintessentially Southern.
Admittedly, the first thing I think of when I hear the phrase ‘Southern food’ is deep fried chicken. Or chicken fried steak. But after that, it’s cornbread.
But hold on just a jiffy, isn’t cornbread made all over the United States? Yes, but the Southerners do it differently. While Northern cornbread tends to be quite sweet, in the South cornbread is made sans sugar.
Sure, you’ll find a few Southern cornbread recipes that call for a spoonful of sugar or honey. But many people insist that a true cornbread should be made without a single crystal of sugar. And that’s the approach I’m going with today.
Except I’m going with muffins rather than the usual skillet or pan of cornbread. Why? Convenience (read: laziness).
After a few attempts at making cornbread muffins, I found my favorite method – by a country mile – was to let the cornmeal soak in buttermilk for 10 minutes, and then add it to the batter. This lets the cornmeal soften, which makes for moister muffins. Plus, you don’t end up with that gritty texture that cornbread often has.
Being someone who’s half-Italian, it seemed logical to me to use polenta cornmeal in this recipe. Just to be 100% clear: I’m talking about the dry polenta that looks like fine cornmeal, not the type of prepared polenta you can buy that looks like a giant sausage.
Regular yellow cornmeal should be A-OK for this recipe – just avoid anything too coarsely ground. I’d also avoid blue cornmeal at any cost because, you know, it’s blue.
So, in the great cornbread poll, how would you cast your vote: sugar or no-sugar?
Personally, I’m sold on the whole no-sugar cornbread. Savory cornbread seems a lot more versatile, since it can be a delicious breakfast or a side dish at dinnertime. But I’d be more than happy to hear from the pro-sweet cornbread crowd.
Oh, and I didn’t mention the absolute best part about making sugar-free cornbread: you can pour over honey with reckless abandon.
- ¾ cup (120g) polenta cornmeal
- ¾ cup (180mL) buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup (120g) pumpkin puree
- 3 tablespoons (45mL) canola oil
- ¾ cup (95g) all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup (50g) frozen corn kernels
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease 9 holes in a 12-hole muffin pan with cooking oil spray.
- In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the polenta cornmeal and buttermilk. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and canola oil. Add the polenta mixture, and mix until well combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in the frozen corn kernels.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin pan, filling each hole approximately three-quarters of the way up.
- Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, or until the tops are dry and a skewer comes out clean (or with a few crumbs). Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooking rack.
- Serve the muffins as a side dish, or simply by themselves with honey (or honey butter). Store in an airtight container.