Cornmeal and Bacon Muffins

November 17, 2008 · 19 comments · Print This Post

in Baked Goods, Breakfast, Disasters, Muffins

Cornmeal and Bacon Muffins

Pretty right? Too bad I didn’t try them before I made this great breakfast tray for CK and I to enjoy. While edible and flavorful my corn muffins with bacon and herbs came out rather dry. I have yet to find a cornbread or muffin recipe, which doesn’t include adding sour cream or creamed corn, that has ever come out with a tender crumb. Does such a thing exist? What’s the secret? Do I need to invest in a special brand of corn meal? Only stir the muffins counterclockwise under the light of a full moon? Steal eggs from the giant who lives at the top of the beanstalk?

Help me faithful readers! You’re my only hope. What would you add to the below recipe to perfect the texture? I think muffins that include bacon should be something I absolutely love, not just something that’s sort of OK. Is it hopeless? Do you think I should just start stirring in the sour cream now?

Cornmeal and Bacon Muffins
Originally published in Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister
Makes 12 muffins

4 slices bacon, diced
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper or crushed dried chilies
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon bacon fat (see recipe), vegetable oil, or melted butter
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, such as snipped chives or chopped parsley, or sliced scallions

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Put the bacon into a cold skillet, nonstick if possible, and fry until crisp. Remove the bacon and transfer to a plate lined with crumpled paper towels. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet (if necessary, make up to this amount with vegetable oil or melted butter).

Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the bacon, eggs, milk, bacon fat, oil or butter, syrup, and the herbs or scallions. Mix quickly to make a course, slightly streaky batter; do not beat or over mix. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake for about 15 minutes until lightly golden and just firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 1 minute, then turn out onto a wire rack. Eat warm, immediately or within 24 hours. When thoroughly cooled, the muffins can be wrapped then frozen for up to 1 month.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bren November 17, 2008 at 8:56 am

how about some apple sauce!? that might moisten them up!


2 Jeff D November 17, 2008 at 10:24 am

Sweet Baby Jesus is there anything that bacon can’t do?


3 Mari November 17, 2008 at 10:30 am

Hubba! These looks so homey and good! I love cornbread muffins, so the addition of bacon, just makes them that much better!


4 Megan November 17, 2008 at 11:27 am

I am not a big bacon fan, but these look so good. I will just have to make them without the bacon. YUM!


5 Erin November 17, 2008 at 2:07 pm

I made cornbread the other day – using the recipe on the back of the cornmeal canister – and it was deliciously moist. That recipe uses baking powder instead of soda, a lower ratio of cornmeal to flour, only one egg, and 1/4 C each of sugar and vegetable oil. It’s probably a sweeter bread/muffin than this, but they sure are good!


6 Audrey November 17, 2008 at 4:09 pm

My favorite cornbread recipe, because it is so moist, is one that I found on called homesteader cornbread. I think what makes it so moist is combining the cornbread and milk and letting it sit for five minutes before mixing it in with everything else. It is also baked at a lower temperature (400 degrees). Check it out, I am sure that you could add bacon and herbs to it and it would be fabulous. In fact I think I will have to try that sometime.


7 Elisabeth November 17, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Try buttermilk next time. My mom’s is always super and she puts buttermilk in hers. She would never EVER put sour cream or creamed corn in it. She uses the Martha White Corn Meal mix, eggs, buttermilk, and some vegetable shortening.

She pre-heats the over to 400 or so. She puts the cast iron skillet in the stovetop to get it screaming hot. She mixes the mix with the eggs and buttermilk… don’t know how much… we do it just by eye-balling it… and puts some vegetable shortening in the skillet. She waits for it to cook down, pours it into the mix, gives it a store, pours the entire batter back into the cast iron pan, and bakes it for about 30 minutes or so.

Gorgeous crunch on the outside… soft and moist on the inside.

I know that’s not a muffin recipe, but yeah. You could certainly jazz it up, but that’s how the women in her family has made it forever

Oh, I feel the need to tell you that we’re good ol Southern folk from Tennessee… so we know a thing or two about cornbread!

I’m thinking the butter milk would make a big difference…


8 Debbie Cantu November 18, 2008 at 8:47 am

My recipe calls for 1/4 cup of bacon grease/oil. I know it’s bad for you, but it’s sooooo yummmy!


9 Elle November 18, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Erin, do you have Gale Gand’s Butter Sugar Flour Eggs? I just made the corn muffins from that book last week. Delicious, just the right amount of sweetness, and much to my surprise–moist! I’ll be happy to pass the recipe along to you if you like.


10 PaintingChef November 18, 2008 at 3:14 pm

To echo Debbie, my recipe calls for 1/4 cup of vegetable oil.

Oh, and yes… milk? In cornbread? No, its always buttermilk. I mix the eggs and buttermilk together before adding it to the corn meal and oil.

Don’t know if it makes a difference but I let the batter sit for about 30 minutes before pouring it into the cast iron skillet. (I let a couple of tablespoons of oil get screaming hot in the skillet while I am letting the batter sit. Makes a PERFECT crust on the bottom.)


11 EB November 18, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Oh man how I wish I could help… but I’m a crappy baker… truly.


12 justJENN November 18, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Try mine but just leave out the vanilla but add the bacon. I hate dry muffins too.


13 Hänni November 19, 2008 at 10:58 am

My mom makes a really moist cornbread–the secret ingredient? plain yogurt. will post the recipe tonight.

For my own kitchen, I have figured out a dairy-free cornbread which is also moist and delicious. I adapted Karina’s sweet potato cornbread. Instead of sweet potato (which i found to be too thick), I use pureed squash–something sweet like butternut or carnival. Also I sub liquid sugar for brown. It’s good.

Sweetest Cornbread
3 large organic free-range eggs
1/4 cup extra light olive oil or vegetable oil
3/4 – 1 cup squash or pumpkin puree
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (substitute coconut or almond extract if you like)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A good shake or two of Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup organic stone ground cornmeal [I used Arrowhead Mills]
1 cup Pamela’s Ultimate Baking Mix – [or your own flour mix with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and a good pinch of sea salt added]
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
A good pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom of a 7 or 8-inch cake pan and dust it with cornmeal.

In large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs till frothy, and add the oil; whisk to combine. Add the squash puree and whisk well. Add the agave, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and pie spice and whisk to combine.

In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour mix, baking powder, and sea salt.

Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients into the wet; and stir until batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake on a center rack in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or so, until the cornbread is firm to the touch and golden. Check with a wooden pick, if necessary; if it emerges clean, the cornbread is done.

Cool and eat!


14 Michael November 19, 2008 at 9:26 pm

I’ll second Elisabeth on the buttermilk and Martha White cornmeal (as that would be the way my Tennessee mother would also make it).


15 Hänni November 20, 2008 at 4:00 pm

As promised,

Sundowner Cornbread (Mom’s Recipe)
1/2 C corn meal
1 C flour
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 C plain yogurt
1/4 C milk
4 tsp melted butter

mix all ingredients until moistened, adding butter last. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.


16 luv2cook November 21, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I think it looks delish but but seems to lack enough fat. If you are leaving the fat in the pan and then pouring the mix on top I think you need about 3 Tablespoon melted butter in the mixture and then 2 Tablespoon bacon fat (aaoogghhh) in the pan. but personally I would mix the bacon fat in and put the butter in the pan. I would also take out the 2 extra Tablespoons of cornmeal – it may be throwing your ratio off. I think I will need to make these next week. I made some perfectly yummy cornbread the other day but it is sweet if you want to check it out it it is luv2cook


17 Jess November 21, 2008 at 9:52 pm

So, I’m not entirely sure if I understood this but you are seeking to make a moist, cornmeal based muffin and you are okay with using milk, but you want to avoid sour cream or heavy cream, correct?

Well…, if you are down with a little early prep, either the night before, or about 8 hours previous to mixing the muffins, try soaking the amount of cornmeal the recipe calls for in the amount of milk the recipe requires. At the bakery, we make the cornmeal bread with a soaker that sits for at least 8 hours, and the corn muffin batter is prepared at least the night before so the meal can get super soft. This might help with your dryness problem. Just add the remainder of your wet ingredients to your soaker, and then add the whole shebang to your dry ingredients.
Note: you probably know this already, but never use only cornmeal in any baked good you want remotely fluffy, make sure your recipe calls for part meal and part flour.
Good luck, lovely!


18 Jimmy June 17, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Try using an extra egg, but then again, eggs are my favourite food so maybe I’m just biased!


19 Chinqua July 29, 2010 at 1:22 am

I always get a laugh of the northerners making “cornbread”. We southerners KNOW how to cook cornbread! In reference to the first recipe listed . . .First of all, cut the flour to 2 Tablespoons, instead of a cup (after all, it’s cornbread–not flour bread or cake. Use one egg (too many will cause dryness). Use about 3/4 cup buttermilk instead of milk. And most importantly, always use SELF RISING CORNMEAL (not cornmeal or self rising cornmeal mix). Put some bacon grease and/or butter (melted) into the pan before pouring in the mixed batter. Cook at about 425 for 20 minutes or till golden.


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