Friday, March 11, 2011

Muffin Madness: Bacon Corn Muffins

Oh dear, I’m beginning to see a pattern here. I’m into 2 weeks of serious muffin making and it turns out I’m much better suited to making sweet muffins than savory. The imagination is the same, combining ingredients, fussing about oven temperatures and baking times. However, my years of experience making sweet muffins simply overrides my desire to give savory muffins a go. This isn’t a story of disaster though. Just mediocrity. Lets get to the point.

You know things aren't going to go right when you absentmindedly use the vanilla soy milk instead of the plain.

When I think of savory muffins, corn muffins were one of the first savory ideas I had. Additionally, bacon seems to be a food trend and they put it in everything. Somehow bacon in a corn muffin didn’t seem all that crazy and would be a superior substitute for a more common cheesy corn muffin, and I’ve already done a cheesy muffin.

We have some awesome corn meal that we saw be ground at Readyville Mill in (could you guess it?) Readyville, TN. Before we purchased our own mill we ventured out there to see what a real stone ground flour was about. It was a fun experience and the mill is beautiful in a well-worn sort of way. The people there were really friendly and along with my bag of stone ground corn meal I received a recipe for corn bread.

My assumption that corn bread made in a hot cast iron skillet and corn muffins made in a cold tin pan would be the same. Not quite. Also, lesson learned; maybe a good idea to make the original recipe before you change it drastically and create a different food. At any rate, from the get go I noticed that there might be some troubles with this conversion. Mostly that there was too much liquid and the batter was not so much batter as... corn slurry. Slurry is never a good thing. I tried to add more corn meal, then white flour. Then I realized I didn’t actually beat the egg, so I added another egg, beaten this time. Was that a scientifically sound decision to create thickness? No. Not at all.

Bye bye bacon topping.

At any rate, I gave up, portioned the “batter” into the muffin tin, sprinkled the reserved bacon on top, tossed it in the over and sadly watched the bacon sink into the muffins. You see, without decent thickness, heavier ingredients in a muffin will sink to the bottom. That’s just what happened to my muffins. No... wait! What’s that? Volcano muffins?! Indeed, the corn muffins didn’t want the bacon on bottom, they wanted it on top! The extra bit of leavening in the muffins managed to push my sunken topping back through the center and create 12 mini-volcanoes.

Bacon lava!
So only some actually look like volcanoes. But still.

Despite this wonderful saving grace the muffins turned out so-so. They’re very (pardon me) corny. I tried to make them spicy and that didn’t really shine though as much as I hoped. The second egg made a denser muffin that is delicious with a chewy chocolaty muffin, not so welcome in a corn muffin. The bacon made for a few happy bites, wasn’t all at the bottom, but it could have been more prominent. Perhaps 6 strips instead of a meager 5 (make that 4 1/2, I couldn't help myself). What can’t be improved with a little more bacon?

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