Thursday, June 4, 2015

Raspberry Corn Muffins


The school year is winding down, the summer is gearing up, and I have been thinking about goodness. (A friend of mine has accused me of sentimentality in my preferences for literature (I am looking at you Jane Eyre and Cold Mountain); such an accusation may be, indeed, true, but I do like to look for the goodness in the world, especially when I am under the weather and the seasons are starting the change).


Today, I spent the day grading at my kitchen table and snacking on these lovely raspberry corn muffins from Ina Garten, whose cooking is always comforting, something I have needed as I have been nursing a cold. These muffins are admittedly more cake than muffin, but I haven't minded. I like a little sweetness and light in my life.


Many years ago, another friend of mine and I were driving across Oregon to visit a friend in Portland. This drive originated in Salt Lake City, took us up through the fertile plateau of southern Idaho, and pushed us onto the high desert of eastern Oregon. The drive was long, and we had many hours to talk. I well remember the sun setting as we came down a gentle decline, sage brush shimmering and then growing dusty. My friend and I were talking about whether or not we believed that humans were inherently good or bad. He claimed bad; I claimed good. On a day-to-day basis, sometimes I question my assertion (especially as I shake my fist at whoever stole the one sunflower blossom we had going in our front yard this spring), but inherently, I believe that it is true.

I have Raspberry Corn Muffins and Ina Garten by my side. I got two cards in the mail today. I spent last night on the phone talking to my best friend in the world and to my mom who is my other best friend in the world. Tonight I am meeting yet another friend for dinner (we nixed soup, which is probably what I should get given the state of my cold, and are opting for trendy hamburgers).

And I know that this is good. Maybe sentimental. But good.

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Raspberry Corn Muffins


Yield:
12 large muffins

Ingredients:  
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup medium corn meal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup good raspberry preserves

Instructions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  

2.  In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, melted butter, and eggs. Using a handheld mixer (or a standup mixer) on the lowest setting, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until they are just blended. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the tops are crisp and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from the pan.

3.  After the muffins cool, spoon the raspberry preserves into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Push the tip of the bag through the top of the muffin and squeeze 1-2 tablespoons of preserves into the middle. Repeat for each muffin. (The muffins are also delicious without the raspberry preserves or with the raspberry preserves slathered with butter onto halved muffins.)

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