muffin madness (Cornmeal Chilli Cheese Muffins)

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(click on image for larger view and more photos)
cornmeal muffins A few weeks ago, I went through a phase of muffin making and made muffins galore. It all got started when I had to replace my monitor and computer. Of course it broke down just before a weekend, when it’s impossible for us to go computer shopping.

But a friend and colleague of T’s very kindly came over to lend me a flatscreen monitor to use for the weekend. This guy (also a T) is an absolute gem. And he’s a computer whiz too!!

While they were hooking up the monitor, I made T’s favourite: bran muffins. (No photographic evidence and amazingly, the recipe is not on the computer. Remind me to make bran muffins again!) Both T’s loved the bran muffins and each ate a couple. We sent the other T home with left over muffins.

Then a few days later, the two T’s headed off to buy a monitor. And came back with a whole new computer.

T & T: We’re back!! We got a great deal on a monitor and computer package. And you’re going to be really happy. It’s Vista.

me: Vista?! (mutter mutter) Isn’t that still in beta?

T & T: No no. You’ll love it. It’s great.

me: But I JUST spent a fortune on an XP disc when Win2K crashed. (mutter mutter) I’ve heard horrible things about Vista.

T & T: No no. You’ll see. You’ll love it. And you have a week to decide. If you really hate it, we can take it back.

me: Okay… (mutter mutter)

And they headed up to the office to hook up the new computer. While they were busy with that, I made orange date muffins – my favourite – they call for a whole orange, peel and all. They’re fantastic muffins. (Heh, you’ll have to take my word for it. There’s no photographic evidence of them either.) Except we didn’t have enough oranges to make orange juice to go in the muffins so I used a pink grapefruit to make pink grapefruit juice. Even better. I might have to always use grapefruit juice in orange date muffins!

The two guys came down to eat muffins and congratulate themselves that the printer worked and the new computer was really fast (and “You’re going to love it!”). We packed up leftover muffins for the other T to take home, as they arranged that they would finish transferring files and hooking the new computer up to the internet the next day. Hmmmm, was this just to get more muffins?!

The next day, while they were tinkering away with the DLink, I made carrot muffins, using a revised version of our carrot cake. I didn’t add as much sugar and used a combination of wholewheat flour and all-purpose to make them more muffin-like and less cupcake like. They were delicious. (Once again, you’ll have to trust me. There’s no photographic evidence of those ones either.) Just as the muffins were done, the two of them came down, tails between their legs, looking sheepish.

T & T: Well… errrr… you were right… errrr… You’re going to be really happy…

me: Ummm, oka-a-y. What happened?

T & T: Our DLink isn’t compatible with Vista. We can’t connect you to the internet. We’re taking the computer back.

me: Yay!!! Can we ask if we can get a deal if we use my XP disc?

T & T: Maybe… Probably… Good muffins!!

Leftover muffins apparently devoured in the car by the other T on the way home….

A few days later, back came the other T for more muffins. He claimed it was to connect the brilliantly fast new XP computer to the internet. (Yes, we got a deal because we already had the WinXP disc from the dead computer.) The muffins for that day were cornmeal chilli cheese with raisins. I used raisins because we didn’t have any green chillies. And to account for the loss of green chillies, I added dried cayenne chili flakes. I’ve got to say it: the muffins were fabulous. (And again, I ask your indulgence to believe me. There’s no photographic evidence of the first batch of cornmeal chilli cheese muffins.)

cornmeal muffins However, they were so good that I made them again the other day. And this time we DID have green chillies, so I used them instead of raisins and reduced the amount of dried chilli flakes. They’re easily as good if not better. And YES!! There are photos.

Here is what I did:

Cornmeal Chilli Cheese Muffins

dry ingredients

  • 6 green Thai chillies, optional
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ c whole wheat flour
  • ¾ c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 c cornmeal (aka maize), medium grind
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ or 1 tsp chili flakes*
  • ½ tsp seasalt
  • 1 c grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ c Thompson raisins, optional

wet ingredients

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil (safflower, sunflower, canola….
  • 1 c milk (or 1 c water plus 1/3 c milk powder)


  • pumpkin seeds, hulled (aka “pepitas”)


  1. Turn oven on to 350F and grease 12 muffin tins.
  2. If you are using green chillies, cut up them into raisin sized pieces. Put them into a small bowl with the sugar and stir to cover. Set aside to meld.
  3. Whisk the other dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. (* If you are using green chillies, add the smaller amount of chilli flakes.)
  4. In another medium sized bowl, beat together the wet ingredients.
  5. Add the sugared green chillies or raisins to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon to distribute them evenly. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir again with a wooden spoon: just enough to mix it all together.
  6. Spoon muffin mixture evenly into the greased muffin tins (they should be about full. Sprinkle each muffin with a few pumpkin seeds.
  7. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly.

These are best served warm, with or without butter. They’re great on their own or with chili con carne.

Before making these again, we discussed whether I should stick with raisins in the muffins. I really liked the muffins with the raisins. But T was keen to have them with green chillies again. And as usual, he’s right. Raisins are a good second choice but green chillies are great. Because they’ve soaked in sugar, they get sort of candy-like and chewy.

They seem to lose some of their heat as well. Next time, I’ll add more green chillies.

This entry was posted in baking, cakes, pastries, cookies, etc., food & drink, posts with recipes, spicy on by .

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