Why It Works
- Softening the butter before combining it with other ingredients allows for easier mixing.
- The ingredients are mixed in one bowl to minimize cleanup.
Corn muffins are one of the simplest muffins of all, and they're also my favorite. Not only do I appreciate the short list of pantry ingredients and the easy whisk-in-one-bowl method, I also like the crunch and gritty texture of the cornmeal and its sweet, earthy taste. And out of any muffin variety except bran, a corn muffin feels healthier and less like cake. (Though trust me, my appetite has no objections to cakey muffins.)
As basic and bare-bones as this recipe is, I intended it to have a much more layered flavor profile. At a restaurant years ago, I tasted a unique and delicious cornbread which was full of honey and cheddar and speckled with black pepper. Wanting to recreate those flavors, I experimented with a few batches of muffins. But since I wanted to serve these for breakfast, I just wasn't sold on the mix of sweet and savory flavors going on. After taking out the black pepper, and then the cheddar, I ended up with a simply moist honey muffin that I couldn't stop chowing down on.
Some may see it as boring, but honey is a perfect stand-alone complement to the nutty cornmeal. Keeping the flavors pared down lets the corn come through while still achieving a flavored muffin. The sweetness level is at the perfect pitch: the combination of honey and sugar has just enough honey flavor without being overly sweet. For bigger honey cravings, lash on a dollop of the rich honey butter. Simply put, simple is often best.
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Honey Butter:
- 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons honey
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Whisk butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until light and creamy. Whisk in eggs until combined. Whisk in honey and milk.
Add cornmeal, flour, and baking powder to the bowl, then whisk until combined. Pour batter into muffin cups and bake until golden and set, about 20 minutes. Let muffins cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan to cool on a wire rack (see notes).
To make the honey butter, stir softened butter and honey until combined. Serve.
To remove muffins from pan, hold pan on its side and gently pull muffins out.