Blackberry and Cornmeal Muffins

Blackberry and Cornmeal Muffins

 

It’s been one of those weeks.  A pipe burst in our apartment, and we have had severe damage to our floors and walls.  Nothing like inept handymen sent by your landlord to further make a mess of the situation.  Apart from that, it’s been rainy, cold, and I’m kind of homesick.

That means it’s time for me to get baking, and make some feel good treats for breakfast so I can get my butt to the gym, whenever these lovely men think they’ll finish making holes in our floor!

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This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cookbook.  I love the taste of blackberries, but don’t really enjoy eating them raw.  They are way too grainy and seedy for me, and store-bought always seem to be incredibly tart!  I always dream of walking through some field, and picking them off their bush, and taste the sweet ripeness that only the sun can provide.  Alas, the only time I have had contact with any wild blackberries is when my daughter brought back silk worms from school as a project.  I had no idea that they only ate blackberry leaves, so I had to hunt out a tree and pick the leaves so they wouldn’t die.  Even though I ABHOR any type of worm.  But, I just can’t let a living thing die, disgusting or not.

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Today we found an array of berries at the market, and I love me some blueberries for breakfast, but picked these up thinking I would make the muffins I saw in Martha’s book.  Brought them home, picked up the book, read the recipe and then realized I don’t have any cornmeal.  I only had Arepa flour.  (Arepas are Colombian cornmeal patties- delicious!)  Even though in Martha’s book it stated for cornmeal, I swapped it in, lessening the amount of sugar that the recipe originally called for.  The Arepa flour that I have has some sugar already in the mix.  I didn’t want them to be overly sweet, either, and I wanted to be able to taste the tartness I find unappealing in the raw berries.  It worked perfectly.  Nice and cornbread like, soft, fluffy, and moist, berries bursting when you take a bite.  Definite “picker upper” on a cold rainy day!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes

Makes 12-16 muffins

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup fine ground yellow cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

7 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

1 -2 containers (6 oz each) fresh blackberries

1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190C).  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar.  In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs and melted butter, pour over flour mixture, whisking to combine.

2.  Fill each lined cup with a scant 1/4 cup batter.  Top batter with blackberries (3-4 berries per cup), then sprinkle evenly with remaining sugar.

3.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until evenly browned on top, 20- to 25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before removing muffins.  They are best eaten the day they are baked, but will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Strawberry Jam Tea-Cakes

cupcakes

 

On Monday it was Paolo’s birthday, and as custom here in Spain, when it’s your birthday, you bring the treats.  So, a couple of years ago I had prepared these for Paolo to take into work, and he asked for them again this year.  I love these cupcakes, as they are really cakey, and nothing is better than biting into this luscious strawberry filling!  My favorite part has to be the glaze, though.

I remember as I was making them that there was something that I needed to do with the glaze, and after making them this time, I now realize that you have to make double the amount of glaze for them to truly be covered in it.  If not, it just seems to pool messily on the bottom, leaving much to be desired on top!  But, that said, next time I am sure I will remember.  (Or will I?)

This is a recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart, whose cupcake book I pore over time and time again.  I love looking at the glossy pictures of these beautiful cupcakes.  Unfortunately, not all the recipes work out.  I am constantly confounded by this, as I have had many issues with Martha’s recipes.  You’d think such a monstrous sized company would have a recipe-proofer, but alas, even Martha has her imperfections!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Martha Stewart Cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins

3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for tins

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tsp finely grated orange zest

4 large eggs, separated, room temperature

1/2 cup milk

1 cup strawberry jam or preserves

Citrus Glaze (Recipe Follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Brush standard muffin tins with butter, dust with flour, tapping out excess.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. With and electric mixer on medium high speed, cream butter, sugar, and zest until pale and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating just until combined after each.

3.  In another bowl, with an electic mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites to soft peaks; gently fold into batter.  Spoon 2 tbsp of batter into each prepared cup.  Make an indentation in the middle of each; fill with one tbsp jam.  Top with an additional 2 tbsp batter, covering jam completely.

4. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cake tester inserted in centers of top layers comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Run a small offset spatula around the edges, and turn out cakes onto wire racks and let cool completely.

Makes 12 cupcakes

5.  To finish, drizzle cakes evenly with glaze, and let set, about 30 minutes.  Glazed cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days in a single layer at room temperature in airtight containers.

For the Citrus Glaze:

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, more if needed

1/4 tsp finely grated citrus zest

3 tbsp fresh citrus juice, more if needed

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.  If necessary add more juice to thicken or more juice to thin the glaze.  Use immediately.

Makes about 1 cup

 

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla