Challenge Accepted: Cornbread Broccoli Surprise!

This looks like your everyday corn muffin, right? You can even see the little bits of corn poking out at you. Aren't they cute?

But aha! That is where I have tricked you! First of all, this is no ordinary corn muffin. It is the most delicious, perfect corn muffin I've ever had. And second, inside each of these already glorious corn muffin gems, is a giant piece of broccoli waiting to give you the extra nutrients you need, or at least give me the chance to win a little friendly competition. And they look awesome - like little trees surrounded by the sun.

It all started with a friendly little evite for small group. The challenge? Cook something with broccoli, and the winner will have their first pick of any favor offered by the group. Now, I have some formidable cooks in my small group, so I knew I would have to go all out to win.

After a lot of thinking, I finally decided on making some sort of dessert, but what could possibly make broccoli taste like a dessert. It's not like you can just dip it in chocolate and call it a day. Then, like a beacon of hope, I found my inspiration: corn bread - savory enough to still match with broccoli, but able to be made sweet enough to still be dessert-like. Perfect!

Assembly is so easy! Put a little corn muffin batter at the bottom, and place a broccoli stalk upright in the middle.
Pour corn bread batter over your broccoli so that it completely hides any sign of the broccoli. Then, bake.

With or without the broccoli, these corn muffins are delicious. They are just the right touch of crumbly, while still moist and the addition of corn adds a great extra texture. It can be easily adjusted to be either sweet or savory. Personally, I also thought the broccoli was a nice addition. I boiled it in honey water so the stalks would be soft and the broccoli itself would complement the sweetness of the corn muffin. I hope you enjoy!

Cornbread Broccoli Surprise!
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's "Corniest Corn Muffins" - Baking from my Home to Yours

Makes 12 cornbread muffins
  • 12 Small bunches of broccoli
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 6 tbls sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tbls melted, browned butter
  • 3 tbls oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup corn kernels - I'd use fresh... otherwise, maybe don't even bother.
Bring 2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of honey to a boil. Dump in your broccoli and boil until tender and broccoli takes on a hint of honey, about 6 minutes. Once done, thoroughly pat dry so that the broccoli is not moist and put aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F, and place rack in the middle of oven. Prepare muffin tins with either paper muffin cups or by greasing the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then, in a pyrex measuring cup (PS: I really love pyrex! So simple, versatile and easy to use!) or something that is easy to pour out of, whisk together the buttermilk, browned butter, oil, egg, egg yolk, and remaining 1/4 cup of honey until well combined. Once mixed, pour the liquids into the dry ingredients while simultaneously stirring. Stir quickly, until just combined; the batter will be lumpy and relatively thick. (Be careful not to over mix your wet and dry ingredients as the corn muffins will become very tough and dry if stirred too much.) Finally, gently fold in your corn kernels.

To assemble, scoop a large spoonful of batter into the bottoms of each of your muffin cups so that batter fills about 1/4 of an inch of the muffin cup. Then, firmly place a broccoli stalk upright into each of the muffin cups. The broccoli should stand on its own without leaning toward a side of the muffin cup. Pour the rest of the batter over the broccoli so that each stalk is completely covered. Be careful to make sure that the batter completely surrounds the broccoli on all sides (including under the crown of the broccoli) so that your muffins bake in full rather than just tops and bottoms. (PS: Your muffins will likely look lumpy or messy before they are baked, but I assure they bake beautifully smooth and fluffy.)

Bake for for 15 - 18 minutes or until tops of muffins are golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool muffins for at least five minutes before removing from molds.

Cut in half to reveal the surprise, serve warm with honey butter, and enjoy!

Thanks Thomas for some of the photos. :D


m said...

This was so delicious! And so pretty. :]

Patty said...

You are oh-so-creative. I like it...

Meaghan Luby said...

did ya win?! also, looks awesome,thanks for sharing :)
@ http://clutzycooking.blogspot.com

Patty said...

by the way, i have added this to the list of food items that you must prepare for us when we visit. ok, thanks :)