Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Cornbread, Cupcake?" "No Muffin, polenta."

We had some yummy pounded steaks in the freezer, and I wanted to make a simple side to go with them. So, I thought to myself, how can I incorporate cupcakes into this situation? The answer was obvious: cornbread.

I'm a bit more confident when it comes to corn flour, as I've wrestled with it more than the rice flour. When I say confident, I'm confident that I don't know how to make polenta. I've tried a couple of times, but the most memorable of those ended in a kind of soufflé-explosion mess.

I have, however, made buns with half white and half corn flour (like I did with whole wheat for the chocolate cupcakes), and I remember that really letting the corn flour dissolve in the warm water helped. So this time, instead of mixing the dry ingredients and then adding the wet, I mixed the flour with the warm water and let it set while I added everything else.

I'm still not sure how important the sugar is in the chemical process for this particular recipe, so I'm still adding some white sugar; that's usually what I do with yeast breads. Next time I make these, I think I'll halve the sugar amount and only use Splenda and see what happens.

By now you may be thinking, Chocolate cornbread cupcakes? Really? Of course not (this time). I decided to throw caution in the gutter and simply omitted the cocoa powder from the original recipe. The end result didn't seem to miss the extra mass.
We're referring to them as polenta muffins around the house, because it's well the closest I'll ever get to actually making polenta. All it needs is a little red sauce.

Cornbread Cupcakes
dry: 1/2 cup + 1 TB white flour | 1/2 cup + 1 TB yellow corn flour | 1/2 cup sugar | 1/2 cup sugar substitute (Splenda) | 1 tsp baking soda | 1/2 tsp salt
wet: 1 cup warm water | 1 TB chopped dill | 1/3 cup vegetable oil | 1 tsp distilled red wine vinegar
Mix dry ingredients with a fork. Add wet ingredients, except vinegar, and blend completely.
Add vinegar and immediately spoon batter into an ungreased cupcake pan, filling each section about halfway.
Bake at 350°for 30 minutes.

Notice that I used red wine vinegar, which added a tiny tang. Cider vinegar would be perfect for this recipe. They were a bit sweeter than I'd like, but honestly they tasted pretty Southern. They'd be incredible with mint instead of dill. Sweet tea, anyone?

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