The day before Christmas, I arrived at the bakery around 5:30 A.M. The scones were already in the oven and the bakers were organizing the orders for the first delivery. I decided to make some last minute maple muffins as well as finish my Bûches de Noël. I wanted them to be very fresh for the holiday so I decided to come in early to complete my orders. What a surprise I had when I went into the retail area of the bakery to help the girls restock the jam racks and display our bakery items for our biggest shopping day of the year.
There in the center of the floor stood this perfectly restored vintage display figure of a "blissful hostess", holding an old silver-plated tray.
Permanently propped on her nose, was a handcrafted miniature replica of my very own gold- rimless eyeglasses. Stacked on the tray were two of my new books, Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours. What an incredible surprise! Jackie, our retail manager, had arranged with the gift-giver to have it secretly delivered the previous evening after I had left the bakery. My spiritual-meditation teacher, Baba Ganapati, had found "her" at a swap meet in Escondido, California, where she was meticulously refinished to her original condition by fellow students. Her eyeglasses were handcrafted in Ghent, Belgium, brought to Esondido, where they were placed on her face. She was shipped to New York City, assembled on her pedestal and delivered to the bakery. There she stands 4-feet tall and quite a beauty. Stop by and see her and have a cup of hot chocolate while you are there. If you see me in the window of the baking room, wave at me and I will come out and say hello. Happy New Year.
Makes 10 muffins
This muffin is bursting with corn flavor. When corn is in season, you can substitute ¾ cup cooked fresh corn kernels for canned. I prefer canned to frozen when fresh isn’t available. The little kernels make this muffin special.
Thoughout the fall and winter, I add cranberries to give the muffins a burst of tartness and their bright berry-red morsels.
Softened unsalted butter, for the pan
1 ¼ cups unbleached flour
¾ cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup whole milk
One 7-ounce can vacuum-packed corn, well-drained
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Brush the insides of 10 muffin cups with softened butter, then brush the top of the pan.
2. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, scraping the sides of the bowl often with a silicone spatula, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs, beating well after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low. In thirds, beat in the flour mixture, alternating with two equal additions of the milk, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, and mix until smooth. Stir in the corn. Gently fold in the cranberries.
3. Using a 2 ½-inch ice-cream scoop, portion the batter, rounded-side up, into the cups.
4. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a wire cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes more. If using frozen cranberries, allow a few extra minutes.
5. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.
Adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours, (Rizzoli 2010).
Tags: Cranberry Corn Muffins
, Sarabeth's Bakery
, Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours