I have a confession to make…I am not great with surprises big or small. This includes gifts for others as well as gifts for myself. When I find a gift for someone that I just know is the perfect thing, I want to tell them immediately, not wait until the big day.
Sometimes, I flat out ask my husband, “Do you want to know what I’m getting you for Christmas? ” He, being the patient one, usually says, “No thank you, I’ll just wait,” and then I’m in quite a tizzy, antsy as heck, ready to burst at the seems.
My daughter is much more obliging at letting me “slip” hints to her as to what she is getting for her upcoming big day. Sometimes, I’ll even let her take a peek.
Gifts for me, though, are the worst of all. If I even have the slightest whiff that a surprise may be afoot for me, then I pester, I ask, I plead, and yes, I snoop. My birthday is rolling around and my husband has been asking for “hints” as to what I might like.
After finding many mouth watering posts around the internet from, Secrets of a Jewish Baker, I decided to make life easy for him and click “buy” on Amazon. I told him I purchased a birthday gift from him to me that day and he was happy that I had found something I truly wanted.
Well, it arrived a couple of weeks ago and my birthday is next month. I tried to hand it to him straight away knowing my childish impulses, I really did. I tried; for all of two seconds. Then I ripped open the box and thought I would get a tiny glance.
Next thing I know, I am leafing through the pages, eyeing every recipe, reading bits of the introduction and deciding without a doubt the first recipe I would make would be the braided Challah bread. I was deteremined I was NOT going to make a single recipe from this beautiful book until my birthday. Absolutely not.
True to form, this morning, needing (note the use of the word needing please) to make something new and fresh for breakfast, I casually flipped through the cookbook, making note of the muffins section and briefly glancing to see if I had all of the ingredients for one of the recipes. Sure enough, as luck would have it, I had all of the ingredients for the Blueberry Cornmeal muffins…well actually I had strawberries, but I felt they would do quite nicely.
At this point, I truly believe I bear no fault, and plead total insanity. I don’t even remember what happened between point A (being all purpose flour) to point G (being chopped strawberries folded in). Really. Please believe me when I tell you that I blanked out and have no recollection of the making of these muffins—well…unless you count snapping pictures in between ingredients.
I have a feeling I am not going to convince anyone that I am free from blame unless you have recently fallen off a turnip truck and if that is so, I am sorry and I am frankly a little concerned about YOUR mental state. I have not seen any turnip trucks as of late.
I truly hope my husband does not notice this post and therefore would come to realize these muffins were made from my ungiven birthday gift. Although, my propensity for spoiling surprises and breaking into presents is nothing new so maybe he will just sigh and admit defeat.
Anyhow, these muffins are glorious and they are truly an excellent accompaniment to scrambled eggs and bacon, any barbeque sauced anything or perhaps would make a lovely basket next to a glistening honey glazed Ham at Easter. The texture is moist, but has a nice sturdy crumb with just a touch of sweetness and chopped strawberries or blueberries are a bright fruity addition.
The only thing it is missing is a dollop of creamy honey butter to slather on top. I made some and slathered some on…so no need to worry about me, but I would add that to yours if you so desire. It really is quite perfect then.
Strawberry Cornmeal Muffins
Taken from Secrets of a Jewish Baker
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c. cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1/3 c. sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
6 T. butter, margarine or shortening, softened
1 egg, beaten
1 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. chopped strawberries or blueberries, fresh or frozen
To make the muffins: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a muffin pan with muffin liners.
Whisk together flour through salt. Cut in or gently crumble with your hands the butter into the cornmeal mixture until it resembles coarse meal. I love to do this part by hand as it makes me feel like a true baker. It’s also nice because you can actually feel the texture of your mixture when it is time to stop mixing.
Add the buttermilk and egg and mix together just until barely incorporated. Dust 1 T. of flour over your fruit and toss the fruit to coat in the flour. Add the fruit to the batter and fold in carefully in with a rubber spatula. Using an ice cream scoop, dollop spoonfuls of batter into the muffin cups to about 2/3 full. Bake for about15-20 minutes or until the center springs back when pressed gently with your fingers.
Serve with honey butter. Simply soften about 1/4 c. of butter by whipping with your hand or in the microwave for just about 10 seconds. Add 1 T. of honey and mix together. Voila…now slather on top of your muffin!