about bliss

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

twd: savory corn and pepper muffins

gorgeous muffins, weird lighting. i'm still learning my new camera!

I come from a family that loves food, and can be rather high maintenance about what we eat, where we eat it, and how we eat. Consider my Grandpa C and his peppers: he will tuck a jalapeno pepper into his shirt pocket when going to a restaurant or even to someone else's house for dinner. He will unceremoniously produce the pepper from his pocket and enjoy it alongside his meal, adding a little extra crunch and zing to whatever delicious dishes happen to appear on his plate.

(Tangent: Back in college, I would bring my own salad dressing to the cafeteria. Now, I cook at home more often than not because, well, I like food they way I like it, and my corner of the world is most decidedly not a mecca of vegetarian food.)

So, as I selected a single jalapeno for this week's recipe, I thought of my Grandpa and how much he would enjoy these muffins, with their subtle heat and their delicious spice melding with a cornbread base--another staple on my Mom's side of the family. Of course, our cornbread eschews sugar because of our Southern roots, but I made an exception and tossed it as Dorie required.

As I seeded, deveined and chopped my jalapeno, I continuously thought don't touch your face! don't touch your eyes! capsaicin! capsaicin! danger! I psyched myself out, and only added half of the pepper to the batter rather than the whole pepper that Dorie recommends. As I chopped and tasted the dough, I could feel the tiny fissures in my dry, winter skin as the pepper's powerful potion lingered on my hands.

I made a few adjustments to the recipe besides halving the jalapeno: I used 3 TBS butter and 3 TBS canola oil instead of 1 stick/8 TBS butter to lower the overall fat profile. I also used part ground chipotle powder instead of all chili powder for a hint of smoke.

I love these muffins, though they're more labor intensive to make than my usual cornbread, which I can whip together in 5 minutes. The chopping and dicing adds an extra 5-10 minutes total, but results in a delicious, hearty muffin that is perfect paired with a hot bubbling soup on these insanely, criminally cold winter nights. Many TWD members enjoyed their muffins with chili--my soup du jour included navy beans, carrots, potatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, and a hint of chipotle. The perfect winter meal, and now I have extras for lunch!

Thanks to Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake, a delightfully entertaining blog, for choosing these muffins! Check out the other talented TWD bakers for their gorgeous photos and delightful stories of muffin making.


  1. Awww that is a sweet story about your grandpa! I'm sure he would have adored your gorgeous muffins!

  2. I'm glad you liked these! I think the jalapeno definitely adds something these muffins need.

  3. Anonymous2:29 PM

    I love the story about your Grandpa. I was thinking the same exact thing when I was dicing the jalapeno (and then later on in the week for a habanero). How funny.

  4. I love the stories of people and their relationship with food...especially this story! Very cool! Great job on the muffins!

  5. The story about your grandfather is wonderful. I always joke that my boyfriend should bring his own bottle of Tabasco sauce with him when we go out to eat (I always knew that there was precedent). I loved the spiciness of the jalapeno in these muffins.

  6. i can't believe you used to bring your own salad dressing to the cafeteria...people at work tease me because i always keep a jar of homemade dressing in our office refrigerator...with my name on it!

    your muffins look scrumptious. and it's good to know they tasted good even with the canola oil substitution!

  7. Your muffins look good (despite lighting issues), your soup sounds absolutely delicious, and your writing, my dear, is a pleasure to read! Your Grandpa and my husband must share some genetic material - hot peppers on the side accompany nearly every meal around here. Oh, and I either chop hot peppers with rubber gloves on or I cut them up with scissors (which I then pop in the dw)

  8. I love the story, too! Pictures can be hard. I am slowly but surely learning from people on here and my friends. I, too, would rather cook than eat out. I like my food the way I like it. It is so hard to make the world conform to our tastes, isn't it? Great post!

  9. Love your grandpa story! I know someone who carries hot sauce in her purse! Nice looking muffins!

  10. Fun post! Love the story about your grandpa. And I hope that you largely avoided the hazards of the capsaicin! Way to take one for the team and add some sugar even though doing so violated your Southern sensibilities. Glad you enjoyed these -- I bet they were great with your soup!

  11. Cute story about your Grandpa! Nice job on the muffins. I agree, they are perfect next to soup/chili during this COLD weather!