I don’t know if you remember the corn dog muffins I told you about late last spring. (I’m tempted to call them pogo muffins, because Pogo was THE brand of corn dogs when I was growing up, but I’m not sure non-Canadians get the reference.) We love the ones I make with Jiffy mix, but they crumble so much that I had to find an alternative. I could have tried more corn bread mixes in the hope of finding one that doesn’t crumble, and maybe I will eventually, but for now I wanted an actual recipe.
On the recommendation of a friend, I first tried Cook’s Illustrated’s all-purpose corn bread, which calls for fresh corn. It was great, but unfortunately the Little Prince didn’t like it (because of the corn kernels!), and since I was looking for a recipe primarily for his lunches, this won’t work. The recipe on Weelicious was for miniature muffins, and I didn’t feel like adapting it unless I really had to, so I set it aside. Then I saw that Deb Perelman had a recipe titled perfect corn muffins on Smitten Kitchen, and you guys, this is it.
These muffins are delicious and exactly the kind of cornbread I like, which is to say sweet Northern cornbread. They call for yellow cornmeal (NOT coarsely ground), and some of the cornmeal is cooked before being mixed in, which I believe is what helps these muffins hold together so well. The Little Prince, the Fox and I loved them! Note that the muffins plump up beautifully, so much so that the sausages were hidden, so you might want to pop them in the muffins halfway through baking. I got a total of 16 muffins, and can tell you that greasing the pan works better than using paper liners. They are also excellent without sausages, FYI.
2 cups (280 g.) yellow cornmeal, divided
1 cup (130 g.) all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ¼ tsp. fine sea or table salt
1 ¼ cups lactose-free milk (ideally whole)
1 cup (240 g.) lactose-free sour cream (I used full-fat plain yogurt)
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) lactose-free butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly
5 Tbsp. (60 g.) sugar
2 large eggs
4-5 cooked hot-dog sausages, cut crosswise into thirds (and lengthwise in half if serving to small children)
Preheat oven to 425 °F. Either grease or line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with disposable liners (again, I recommend greasing, and I got a total of 16 muffins).
Whisk 1 ½ cups cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine milk and remaining ½ cup cornmeal. Cook cornmeal mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens so that the whisk leaves a clear line across the bottom of the pan that slowly fills in. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool a bit.
Whisk butter, then sugar, then sour cream into cooked cornmeal until combined. At this point, the wet mixture should be cool enough that adding the eggs will not scramble them, but if it still seems too hot, let it cool for 5 minutes longer. Whisk in eggs until combined. Fold in flour mixture until thoroughly combined and the batter is very thick. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups; it will mound slightly above the rim. At this point, if you don’t mind the sausages ending up hidden, you can add a piece of sausage to each muffin.
Bake until tops are golden-brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 13 to 17 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking to ensure even cooking (if you haven’t inserted the sausages into the muffins yet, do it at the halfway point). Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from tin and let cool 5 minutes longer. These are great warm, but at room temperature and even cold, they were appreciated by my kids and husband.