Two Corn Muffins: Pumpkin Yogurt and Classic Buttermilk

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I am definitely in a muffin phase at the moment, so I hope you don't mind more muffin recipes! Muffins are the easiest thing to bake, and are great to tote along for in-between meal snacks as well as lunch. And having a good stash of muffins in the freezer, ready to go at a moment's notice on the busiest day, makes you feel a bit smug about how organized you are.

I love corn muffins, with the little crunchy grains. Here are two types of corn muffins, that are just lightly sweet and therefore perfect to accompany a soup, a spicy chili, and so on. One is a pumpkin or winter squash and yogurt muffin, and the other is a classic buttermilk muffin, the kind they used to serve in coffee shops in New York - do they still?

They can be made into mini-size or regular size; the mini muffins are about 75 calories each, and the regular size about 150 calories each.

These two recipes use eggs and dairy products so are not vegan. They do use vegetable oil rather than butter, to keep them on the healthy and light side.

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Recipe: Pumpkin and yogurt corn muffins

Makes 24 mini or 12 regular sized muffins. Mini muffins are about 73 calories each; regular size about 146 calories each. They're the orange-y ones in the photo.

The dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup (220ml; 140g) fine ground yellow corn meal or polenta (see notes)
  • 1 cup (220ml; 130g) minus 2 Tbs. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix or spicebread mix or gingerbread mix or pain d'epices mix (basically the same thing, named differently depending on where you live; contains cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ground ginger, etc.)
  • 3 Tbs. sucanat (see notes) or light brown sugar or raw cane sugar or regular sugar

The wet ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbs canola oil or light olive oil (or other flavorless vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup (220ml) unsweetened pumpkin or winter squash puree (I use Hokkaido kuri squash or knirps, cooked skin and all and mashed up)
  • 1/3 cup (75ml) low-fat yogurt

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 360°F. Grease or spray non-stick spray onto your muffin tins if needed.

Mix or sift together the dry ingredients.

Beat together the wet ingredients until blended.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, using a spatula. Don't overmix. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins evenly. Bake 25 minutes for mini-muffins, 30-35 for regular size muffins until the tops are browned and a skewer stuck through a middle muffin comes out clean.

Take out of the muffin tins and cool on a rack. If freezing, put them in the freezer well wrapped as soon as they are at room temperature.

Recipe: Classic buttermilk corn muffins

Makes 24 mini or 12 regular sized muffins. Mini muffins are about 77 calories each; regular size about 154 calories each. They're the brownish ones in the photo.

The dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup (220ml; 140g) fine ground yellow corn meal or polenta
  • 1 cup (220ml; 130g) all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbs. sucanat (see notes) or light brown sugar or raw cane sugar or regular sugar

The wet ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 Tbs canola oil or light olive oil (or other flavorless vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/3 cups (315ml) buttermilk (or 1 1/3 regular low-fat milk + 1 Tbs. vinegar)

The directions are the same as for the pumpkin yogurt muffins!

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 360°F. Grease or spray non-stick spray onto your muffin tins if needed.

Mix or sift together the dry ingredients.

Beat together the wet ingredients until blended.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, using a spatula. Don't overmix. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins evenly. Bake 25 minutes for mini-muffins, 30-35 for regular size muffins, until the tops are browned and a skewer stuck through a middle muffin comes out clean.

Take out of the muffin tins and cool on a rack. If freezing, put them in the freezer well wrapped as soon as they are at room temperature.

Notes

Using a finely ground cornmeal is critical for light fluffy corn muffins. I use a fine ground polenta meal. If for some reason yellow cornmeal is not that available where you live, by all means use white cornmeal instead.

Sucanat is a fine grain raw cane sugar. You can find it at health food stores. It's expensive, but I find I need less of it than regular sugar since it has a lot of flavor. If you can't get it, use one of the suggested substitutions.

Buttermilk is terrific for baking - it adds a hint of sourness and keep things nice and light. If you can't get a hold of buttermilk, add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to regular low fat milk and mix until the milk curdles a bit.

Mini muffins will defrost nicely on their own by lunchtime. Regular size ones may keep a cold, frozen heart, so if you can microwave them for a minute in the morning, all the better.

See a decorated version of the buttermilk corn muffins in this bento!