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What I’m listening to: What Can I Say, Brandi Carlile

Cornmeal is a remarkable ingredient. It can be baked into savory applications, like my Cheddar Green Chile Cornbread. It’s also excellent for thickening soups and stews, like a pot of tortilla soup or beef chili. Let’s not forget cornmeal’s cousins, polenta and grits. Either of those simmered low and slow until creamy, with some butter and cream, and maybe even some cheese thrown in are absolute heaven underneath a pork ragu or a pile of garlicky shrimp. And there’s cornmeal’s other cousin, masa flour, used to make handmade corn tortillas, tamales, or pupusas.

cornmeal muffins

I’ve long been a fan of cornmeal in sweet preparations as well. It’s a habit I picked up from my grandmother who loves to bake fresh blueberries into her buttery cornbread. I love a stack of corn griddlecakes with maple syrup and butter for breakfast alongside crisp bacon. I add cornmeal to my pumpkin bread in the fall to help it slice better and to give it just a slight hint of texture. And today, I’m offering you some delightfully moist cornmeal muffins with blood orange and rosemary. I’ve added freshly squeezed blood orange juice and blood orange zest to the batter along with finely chopped fresh rosemary. Then, I baked thin slices of orange right on top of the muffins and finished them with a blood orange glaze. The combination of rosemary with the cornmeal and the citrus might be one of my favorite cornmeal recipes yet.

Cornmeal Muffins with Blood Orange & Rosemary

cornmeal muffins

Adapted from The Baking Bird.

Yields: 1 dozen muffins

  • For the muffins:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • zest of two blood oranges
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, stem removed and very finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 blood orange, very thinly sliced
  • For the glaze:
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-count muffin tin, then line it with cupcake papers.

To a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the softened butter, oil, and sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the eggs, zest, blood orange juice, and rosemary, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, steadily add the cornmeal and flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until everything is well combined, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you go. Divide the batter evenly into the twelve muffin cups (I use a medium cookie scoop for this). Place a thin slice of blood orange on top of each muffin. Bake for 22-24 minutes, until cooked through in the center and golden on the edges. Remove to a cooling rack to cool.

To make the glaze: whisk together the blood orange juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Spoon a generous amount of the glaze over the top of each muffin. Allow the glaze to set about ten minutes before serving.

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