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Corn Muffins with Roasted Red Peppers, Scallions & Cheddar

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Yields 24 mini muffins

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 114

Like corn bread? Then you’ll love these savory, two-bite muffins, which get subtle sweetness and a hearty texture from polenta, or corn grits, a medium-grind cornmeal. Packed with aged Cheddar, rich roasted red peppers, and nutty brown butter, they’re perfect as a nibble on their own or with a bowl of spicy chili.

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter 
  • 3 oz. (3/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs.) stone-ground polenta, such as Bob’s Red Mill corn grits  
  • 2 oz. aged Cheddar, grated (about 1/2 cup) 
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 cup finely diced roasted red peppers
  • 1 medium scallion, finely chopped   

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Generously coat a 24-cup mini muffin pan with cooking spray. 

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and let cool. 

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, polenta, Cheddar, baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. 

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until pale yellow and thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low. Add a third of the dry ingredients, then half of the melted butter, mixing after each addition until just incorporated. Alternately add the remaining flour and butter, mixing after each addition, and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in the roasted red peppers and scallions by hand. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan (about 1 Tbs. per muffin). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes. 

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then unmold. Serve warm. 

Make Ahead Tips

The muffins may be baked up to 8 hours in advance. To reheat, wrap in foil and heat in a 350°F oven until warm, 7 to 10 minutes.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 90; Fat (g): fat g 4; Fat Calories (kcal): 35; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2.5; Protein (g): protein g 2; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 9; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 140; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 25; Fiber (g): fiber g 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made these and brought them to a party. Warmed them a little before serving. The flavor was good but I really didn't enjoy the grittiness of the polenta. And I don't think other people at the party bit into them and expected that texture. Maybe would try with regular corn meal next time. And goat cheese.

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