The simple corn muffin is a beautiful thing. You can serve it as a make-ahead side dish for a summer cookout and then reheat a leftover muffin for a quick breakfast.
But we can do better than just tossing some cornmeal in a bowl. These muffins are laced deliciously with shredded sharp cheddar and slivered jalapenos. The combination is a perfect match.
For jalapeno prep, I recommend scraping out the seeds and then slivering the pepper into half-rounds instead of dicing it. That will make the peppers really stand out in the finished muffin. I also like to top each muffin with a few slivered jalapeno slices for effect.
You might think a whole jalapeno is a lot for just a few small muffins, but the spice is mellowed by the roasting and also by the cheese.
Dont be afraid to really fill your muffin tin with the batter. These will puff nicely, but not to the extent of cupcakes. You dont need to worry about them overflowing.
Nick Evans is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a website for home cooking.
Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffins
1 large jalapeno pepper
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a 12-cup muffin tin, using 9 cups for large muffins or all the cups for smaller muffins. Cut the jalapeno in half and scrape out seeds. Thinly slice the pepper into half-round slivers.
WHISK together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, egg and melted butter. Fold in cheese and jalapeno, reserving a few slivers of pepper to garnish the tops.
DIVIDE batter between 9 or 12 muffin tins. Fill any empty cups half-full with water for even baking. Top the muffins with a sliver or two of jalapeno.
BAKE the muffins until golden brown, 20 to 24 minutes. A tester should come out clean from one of the center muffins.
COOL the muffins briefly before removing from the tin and serving.
NOTES: For high altitude, reduce baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon. To reheat muffins, microwave for 20 seconds on high.
Yield: 9 large or 12 small muffins.