I’ve got more cranberry for you. I know, I know another one?! But remember, I told you I have more cranberries than I know what to do with!!! And it is almost Thanksgiving so there is no better time than now to use them!
If you’re anything like me you have had Thanksgiving menu ideas swirling around in your head for weeks, but you’ve waiting until now to really get down to business. I can’t be the only one?
This Cranberry Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins recipe is great for all you other last minute bakers. It comes together super quickly with only a few ingredients. And if you’re an
over-acheiver domestic goddess who has already done her (or his) Turkey Day grocery shopping, these guys would go just as well with a Christmas Feast. Hello, red and green!
Can we take a moment to talk about the gloriousness of cornbread?
By now I know you guys are catching on to my love of cornmeal desserts (like here, here and here). I’m about to let you in on a little maybe-embarrassing-if-you’re-a-baking-snob secret about where that love is sparked from. Ready for this?
Jiffy cornbread muffins.
Oh yes. Those fluffy, perfect muffins that come from a sorry-I’m-not-sorry box mix.
Every winter, at least once, my mother (who is not a cook) would make her (kind of) homemade chili. It’s a soup style chili with ground beef, kidney beans and large chunks of canned tomato. And of course packaged chili mix (sodium, eek!) to impart that oh-so-comforting chili flavor.
And every year when she made her semi-homemade chili, she let me “help” by making the cornbread muffins. It may have actually been my first baking experience. Add an egg and some milk, stir with a big wooden spoon, set aside said spoon for licking, and you’re golden. Not exactly skilled work.
I freaking loved those cornbread muffins. And I still do. In fact, for a long time I found it hard to appreciate homemade versions. They are usually more dense and dry than the muffins of my childhood. (Yes, I was that kid at my 2nd grade class Thanksgiving feast, dressed as a pilgrim, disdainfully eyeing the from-scratch cornbread that one of the room moms had worked so hard to make…for a group of 8 yr olds. What did she expect?)
And while I’ve come to love all versions of the southern snack, there is something to be said for nostalgia and the warm fuzzy feelings that biting into a Jiffy cornbread muffin brings.
But there is also something to be said for using wholesome, rich ingredients to make a shining homemade version of a childhood favorite that you would have totally given the stink eye when you were 8 and dressed as a pilgrim. Which leads me to today’s recipe.
I know, I totally just led you on a winded, slightly unrelated tangent to get here. I promise I haven’t had any wine yet. Bear with me.
The first time I made this recipe I forgot to add the oil. Womp womp. Such a spaz. Don’t forget to do that. If you do, your cornbread will come out of the oven the texture of a brick.
In honor of my childhood love affair (not like that) I decided to use a “Jiffy copycat” recipe for the cornbread muffin base. To fancy it up a little bit, I let some cranberries, jalapeños and brown sugar have a party over some heat then folded the mixture into the batter. Bake for 10 minutes and you’ve got yourself some beautiful cornbread muffins.
Let’s keep going with this fancy thing, shall we? How about a little compound butter? A little sweet, a little spicy and likely to knock the socks off of all your guests. I won’t judge you if you want to put it on your mashed potatoes as well.
The secret ingredient in this Cayenne Honey Butter is a few tablespoons of cream cheese. Yea, I went there. Cream cheese makes everything better, am I right?
The inspiration came from a holiday appetizer that is pretty popular here in Texas, that is made by pouring spicy cranberry or raspberry relish over a block of cream cheese, served with crackers. Kind of weird, totally delicious.
You could forego the compound butter all together, but really, you shouldn’t. Cranberry + jalapeño + cream cheese are just meant to be. The dash of cayenne adds a little bit more heat because I love spicy food (totally optional) and the honey cools things off and adds a nutty sweetness that complements the cornbread perfectly.
Seriously, this recipe needs to be up your proverbial holiday sleeve. So simple and comforting, yet impressive – look at those colors! Serve the muffins with a garnish of finely chopped jalapeno or cilantro. Ooo! or even bacon! So many possibilities here, folks!
Enjoy! XO, Katie
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
- 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup + 2 tsp milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp cream cheese, cold
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp salt
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberries, brown sugar and half of the jalapeños. (Reserve the other half for mixing into the batter raw so that you get pretty bright green pieces through out.)
- Cook mixture until berries begin to cook down and release juices, about 10 - 15 minutes. You want them to still maintain some shape. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat to oven to 350 and grease a muffin tin.
- In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk together to blend.
- Add the vegetable oil, milk and eggs and mix until well combined.
- Fold the cranberry mixture and the remaining jalapeños into the batter.
- Scoop the batter into your greased muffin tin, filling them about 2/3 full.
- Bake the muffins for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Serve warm with butter.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment combine butter and honey and whip until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese and continue to beat on medium high until well incorporated.
- Add the cayenne and salt and mix until distributed through out.
- Serve with warm muffins.
Cornbread base adapted from Food.com