I’ve been debating about how to start this post. I taught two classes back to back this week and the prep was pretty awesome. Whenever I had a moment to think about something other than what vegetable I needed to chop next, I started to think about all the events I have on my calendar for next week and the week after. So what is a food blogger to do? Just not post and then write a “sorry I haven’t been here” post in a couple days? Take valuable prep time away to write a clear cohesive emotional post about a muffin? I don’t know. I seem to have temporarily lost my mojo.
So I will just say this. I love a good muffin and, in my opinion, if you want a good muffin these days, you have to make it yourself. Muffins have suffered the same fate as scones in recent years. That is, they have been plumped up, sweetened up, super-sized, and flavor downgraded. Go into any coffee shop and you will find huge muffins with the same uniform look and flavor. To me, they taste of flour and sugar and not much else.
This muffin, which comes from the Flour cookbook, is not too sweet, has an interesting crunch texture (thanks to some cornmeal), and is the perfect size to share or not, as you see fit. The little bit of jam inside each muffin is such a sweet surprise and this the first muffin I have ever made that puffed up perfectly without running all over the pan.
2¾ cups all purpose flour
1 cup medium-coarse yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
¾ cup crème fraîche, at room temperature
¾ cup raspberry jam
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 350ºF. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin, coat with nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well mixed. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until it forms a thick slurry. In a second large bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. One at a time, whisk the milk, then the oil, then the crème fraîche, and finally the butter-sugar slurry into the eggs. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and fold carefully just until the dry and we ingredients are well combined. The batter will be thick and pasty.
Spoon about ¼ cup batter into each prepared muffin cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon jam on top of the batter in each up, then top off each cup with another ¼ cup batter, making sure the cups are evenly filled. They should be filled to the rim.
Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until the edges of each muffin are golden brown and the center springs back when pressed with a fingertip. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan.
The muffins taste best the day they are baked, but they may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you keep them longer than 1 day, refresh them in a 300ºF oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Or, you can freeze them, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 1 week. Reheat, directly from the freezer, in a 300ºF oven for 8 to 10 minutes.