Posts Tagged 'stone ground cornmeal'

Lemon Honey Corn Muffins

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Summer, summer, summer.  It’s finally here!  I don’t know about your town, but summer in New York took its sweet time to arrive.  It was unusually chilly for far too long and I heard somewhere that it’s rained 75% of the days in June.  Acting out on a little Seattle envy, my dear NY?   

Good news is that it seems warmer days are now upon us.  Hooray!  In an attempt to celebrate the recent summertime glow enveloping the city, I decided to bake a sunny treat.  And to me, sunny means lemon! 

Now I’ll be up front with you here.  I’m not the biggest lemon fan.  Yeah, a nice lemon bar is alright every once in a while, but I’m not really a refreshing treat kind of girl.  I much prefer rich, deep flavors to light, airy ones in my sweets.  So I didn’t go the super sweet route with this recipe.  Instead, I concocted something slightly sweet – a lemon-infused cornbread type of thing.

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Here’s my recipe for Lemon Honey Corn Muffins:

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 (6 ounce) container plain nonfat yogurt

1 egg

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup stone ground cornmeal

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together honey, applesauce, yogurt, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix brown rice flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Stir the dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.

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These were an interesting twist on traditional cornbread!  I’ve clearly taken a liking to creating recipes like that – as can be seen here and here.  The lemon makes the muffins taste quite fresh and the honey adds just the right amount of sweetness.  Perfect for summer!

What’s your favorite lemon baked goodie?

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Stone Ground Cornmeal

cornI didn’t eat much cornbread growing up.  Tragic, I know.  And also quite strange, considering there was definitely no shortage of BBQ or chili in my household.  Aren’t those the standard cornbread counterparts?  C’mon Mom, what was up?  My recent experimentations with Maple Banana Cornbread and Maple Sweet Potato Cornbread must have been attempts to fill that childhood void. 

Well, I may not be a cornbread expert yet, but I do know that every great recipe starts with the same thing.  No, no…not a Jiffy box.  Cornmeal!

Cornmeal is basically dried corn kernels that have been ground.  Today, corn is the most widely grown crop in America, but it was actually first cultivated in Central Mexico thousands upon thousands of years ago.  It spread north and south and the Native Americans quickly learned to grind it into a meal to use in cooking. Cornmeal is now a staple ingredient in many parts of the world.

Important to note – Not all cornmeal is created equal!  And by that, I mean not all cornmeal is whole grain.  If the cornmeal you’re looking at doesn’t say 100% whole grain, check for the label stone ground cornmeal, appropriately named after the method used to produce it.  To make stone ground cornmeal, dried corn is crushed between millstones, leaving the hull and germ – the nutrients! – of the corn in tact.  This grinding process is what gives cornmeal its characteristic gritty texture.  Stone ground cornmeal is also, but less commonly, known as water ground cornmeal because waterpower is most often used to turn the millstone wheels.  Doesn’t that sound so wonderfully old-fashioned? 

Cornmeal can be white, yellow or blue, depending on the type of corn used.  The darker the corn, the sweeter and nuttier the cornmeal.  Darker corn also produces more protein-packed meal.  All varieties are excellent sources of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B-6.  They’re also gluten free, which I know some of you appreciate!

Arrowhead MillsKing Arthur and Hodgson Mill are some good brands that make whole grain cornmeal.  Check ‘em out!

Do you have a favorite baking recipe that uses cornmeal?

Maple Sweet Potato Cornbread

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Fall is the BEST time for baking.  I seriously believe the season was made just to give us inspiration.  Think of all the flavors and spices – pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, nutmeg.  Ahh…I can smell an oven seeping with autumn aromas as I type.

I already made Spiced Pumpkin Honey Muffins to express my love for what I deem to be the epitome of fall – Thanksgiving.  But my love overfloweth, and I couldn’t let the holiday come and go without baking up another festive recipe.  So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Maple Sweet Potato Cornbread.

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My Maple Banana Cornbread was such a hit around here that I thought it would be fun to up the fall aspect and transform it into a loaf bursting with seasonal tastes.  Since sweet potato is a favorite Thanksgiving – or anytime! – food of mine, the way to make this happen was obvious.  I substituted sweet potato for banana and the rest, my friends, is history.

Here’s my recipe:

1 cup stone ground cornmeal

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup mashed sweet potatoes

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 egg white

1/2 cup skim milk

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together sweet potatoes, maple syrup, egg white and skim milk.  In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, white whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  Stir the dry ingredients into the sweet potato mixture until just blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes.

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Maple!  Sweet potato!  Cornbread!  A trifecta of fall flavors!

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This bread is quite tasty!  Very moist and the essence of sweet potato really comes through.  Compared to my Maple Banana Cornbread, I’d say the sweetness is more subtle – because sweet potato has less natural sugar than banana – and the nutty cornmeal flavor is a bit more subdued.  But it was still very well-received and Dan an official taste tester had a hard time picking which loaf he liked best. 

This would be a great treat to bring along to a holiday dinner.  Will you be baking anything for Thanksgiving this year?  

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Maple Banana Cornbread

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If you haven’t caught on yet, I like to bake traditional treats with a bit of a twist…brownies with cinnamon, pumpkin muffins with honey, chocolate chip cookies with coffee.  My goal is to create recipes that are approachable, but interesting, because those are the kind I like best.  Everybody loves banana bread or chocolate cupcakes, but what can I do to make that first bite a tad surprising?  

In light of this baking ideology, and the approaching holiday, I set out to spice up a seasonal favorite – cornbread.  I’ve had some stone-ground cornmeal hanging out in my apartment for a while now – remnants of a one-off chili and cornbread night – and it’s been begging to be used.  I think it felt left out because every time I reached into the cabinet to pull out my baking ingredients, I passed it over in favor of WWWF or whole wheat pastry flour.   I figured it deserved its moment in the spotlight too, but what to do with it?

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Maple Banana Cornbread sounds good to me!  This is a really fun recipe that has no added fat and is very low in sugar – but you can’t even tell!  I think that’s awesome.  Just make sure you use a cornmeal that’s 100% whole grain to keep it 100% whole foods.

Recipe:

1 cup stone ground cornmeal

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 medium bananas, mashed

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 egg white

1/2 cup skim milk

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, white whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, mix together bananas, maple syrup, egg white and skim milk.  Stir the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes.

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I’m really excited about my Maple Banana Cornbread because it came out exactly the way I was hoping it would.  It has the nutty flavor and slightly crumbly texture of cornbread with added sweetness and moistness from the maple syrup and bananas.  This one’s a keeper!

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I like the tops of sweet breads best because they’re the softest!

Do you have a spruced up cornbread recipe?  

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