Friday, November 9, 2012

Fast Friday: Corn bread change-up

TGIFF - thank goodness it's finally Friday!  I swear that upcoming weekends filled with fun things always make the preceding week move along at a glacial pace.  Slow as molasses, I tell you!  But we made it, didn't we?

I am so looking forward to a very important date with a friend tomorrow.  Once a month, a nearby theater pairs with a local bakery for the glorious invention they've deemed Cinebrunch.  Doesn't that just sound like the best idea ever?!  A buffet of all sorts of breakfast foods and pastries is set out at 10, which moviegoers enjoy at their leisure.  At 11, everyone heads into the theater to enjoy that month's classic film of choice, which happens to be The Wizard of Oz.  I don't know how I ever lived without Cinebrunch in my life :)

Speaking of things I can't live without, at the top of my shortcut foods list you'll always find Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.  A friend and I were recently talking about corn bread.  She and her husband hosted a pumpkin party recently, and she planned to make a big batch of chili and cornbread.  When I asked if she had a good recipe for the latter, she confessed that she almost always uses the little blue Jiffy box.  "Me, too!" I exclaimed.

I've tried a few recipes for homemade cornbread, and the results have been okay, but not great enough to warrant making again.  And certainly not worth the effort when a more delicious alternative takes all of 3 minutes to prepare.  Honestly, the blue box has it down!

Not long ago, I was preparing to make corn muffins to go with a batch of my favorite chili when I realized that I was out of eggs.  D'oh!  The blue box requires only 2 outside ingredients -- egg and milk -- and I was only batting .500.  Not a good sign.

With some quick thinking, I noticed some excess pumpkin puree in the fridge left from a batch of baked pumpkin pie oatmeal.  Pumpkin puree as a substitute for egg?  That was sheer lunacy... or was it?

Not lunacy but brilliance!

Since the volume of 1 egg is about 1/4 cup, I subbed that amount of pumpkin puree and stirred it into the corn bread mix and milk.  Twenty minutes later, I had the most delicious corn bread muffins I've ever tasted with just a smidge of pumpkin flavor.  Not enough to scream, "PUMPKIN!" but more like a faint whisper that you're not sure if you actually heard it or just thought it.

If you wanted more of a burst of pumpkin, you could always add a dash of pumpkin pie spice to the mix (or, separately, ground cinnamon, cloves, and ginger).  Hmm... I'm going to try that next time.

I've already made muffins this way twice, and I'm thinking about the next time I make 'em, too.  That should be all the convincing you need to toss out that egg (I mean, not really) and get some pumpkin into your cornbread!

And, if anyone asks, of course it's homemade cornbread.  It was made in your home, wasn't it? :)  Have a stupendous weekend, everyone!

One year ago: Pork chops with cranberry sauce
Two years ago: Breakfast apple granola crisp
Three years ago: Maple and walnut blondies with white chocolate drizzle

Pumpkin Corn Muffins
(adapted from the back of the Jiffy mix box)
-makes 8 muffins

1 small package Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/3 cup milk
generous 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a muffin pan with 8 paper liners or coat generously with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk (or stir with a fork) together muffin mix, milk, and pumpkin until large clumps are broken up and no dry crumbs remain.  Batter will be slightly lumpy still -- that's okay. Divide mixture among muffin cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until tops begin to turn golden.  Remove from oven and pop muffins out of pan and cool completely on wire rack.  Enjoy, either split and buttered or crumbled over a hot bowl of chili.

Muffins can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen and thawed at room temperature when ready to eat.

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