Saturday, January 11, 2014

Corn meal muffins with chilies: easy comfort food

Brought to you with warm affection by Victoria Abbott aka Victoria and Mary Jane Maffini


Up here in beautiful Manotick and Kars, Ontario, it's cold and snowy. That makes it the perfect season for comfort food. We put cornmeal muffins high on that list. 

Years ago MJ dug through many cookbooks looking for a cornmeal muffin recipe and finally found one that she really liked. She did not grow up with corn meal muffins and found them exotic and irresistible. The recipe was a hit with family and friends. That recipe called for buttermilk and it continues to be a bit of a staple. However, MJ had planned to make corn meal muffins for an event with friends last week and apparently, there was a run on buttermilk in our local stores. Huh.

Lucky she had sour cream in the house and found it a good alternative to rejig the recipe.
We've now made this new version three times and may now wipe out the sour cream supply. We'll head out for more because we are planning a big family lunch next week. We will have folks from one to ninety-one as the song goes and they'll have a mountain of these as part of the fun.

Savory Sour Cream Cornmeal Muffins

1/4 cup butter (softened)
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons canned green chilies (we use Old El Paso – they are mild)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine butter and sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer.  Beat at medium speed, scraping down side of bowl often, until creamy.  Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in sour cream and milk. 


Slowly add all remaining ingredients.  Reduce speed to low; beat just until mixed. 


Add green chilies at the end and blend evenly.


Decision time: if you want smaller muffins, use a quarter cup measure to fill your muffin tins. You should end up with a dozen.  


 However, we found we liked them better if we used 1/3 cup measure and got nine of the larger version.  I suppose I should mention that we doubled the recipe anyway and could afford this largesse. 

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes (depending on size etc)

Remove and cool just a bit.   


These are best served warm with a dab of butter and they’re especially good if you then add a good-sized bite of sharp Cheddar. 



They freeze very well in zippered plastic bags and reheat well too. 

We're building our collection of frozen corn meal muffins for a big family lunch this month. We’re planning to pass on the rest of the recipes too.

 Here's a little bit more about Victoria Abbott, author of the book collector mysteries. 

Victoria is an artist and photographer and MJ is the author of 13 books in three other series, as Mary Jane Maffini.  They really really like dogs.

They also really love their book collector mysteries (contain dogs!) and are happily at work on The Wolfe Widow, third in the series.   They're very excited about the The Sayers Swindle which is out now!

The Sayers Swindle, the second in the book collector mysteries is now available.

You can click here to order The Sayers Swindle!

Or here for the Kindle version!

Or order through your favorite bookstore - in person or online.

And don't forget to ....

Watch the trailer for The Sayers Swindle!


The Christie Curse, the first book collector mystery, launched in March 2013 to great reviews.

The Christie Curse is also available in Large Print! Tell your local librarian!

 Walter, the pug in the series is a dead ringer for Peachy, Victoria's new best friend. 

 Come over and friend Victoria on Facebook

Tell  her  you love the pug!


  1. We love cornbread in all forms here. I'm going to have to find a gluten-free version of this recipe! It sounds so good with the chiles.

    By the way, there's a powdered buttermilk that works very well, and keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator. Buttermilk used to be so easy to find; my mother liked to drink it, with a sprinkle of pepper, when we were kids. But I have not seen it in stores in eons. The powdered stuff is great, especially for the buttermilk pancakes my husband makes when the (grownup) kids are here.

    1. Thanks, Karen! It is easy to find buttermilk in the stores here, but it only comes in litre containers (a little more than a quart), so it's hard to use up. I will hunt down the powdered version as it will solve a few problems. I figure either the health food store or Bulk Barn should have it.

      Buttermilk pancakes? Mmmm.



  2. These look irresistible! One thing I discovered this year when needing to make my grandmother's chocolate cake without any buttermilk--if you add a tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar to a coup of milk, presto, it becomes buttermilk substitute!

    1. What a great tip, Lucy/Roberta! I am making a note of it. I have several recipes that call for buttermilk and every other ingredient in them is something you would always have in the house. This tip would save a winter trip to the store (not that you need to worry in Key West!)