Chilli and cheese cornbread muffins

Split and butter these savoury muffins straight from the oven.
Split and butter these savoury muffins straight from the oven. Photo: William Meppem
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Vegetarian

You could make this recipe in a single loaf tin, but the muffin tray ensures there's a mouthful of the deliciously crunchy crust with every bite. The individual portions also maximise the ratio of the chilli cheese topping to the tender, buttery interior. These make a great accompaniment to a family feast and are best at the height of summer, when fresh corn is at its peak, though frozen kernels are acceptable. They are also delicious served with soup.

Ingredients

150g corn kernels (from 2 small fresh corn cobs)

170g self-raising flour

150g fine polenta

1½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

25g castor sugar

25g light brown sugar

1½ tsp cumin powder

¾ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

3 large eggs

150g plain full-fat yoghurt

120ml milk

50g melted butter, plus extra for greasing the muffin tins

80g cheddar cheese, grated

1-2 long red chillis, thinly sliced

Method

1. Heat a medium frying pan until hot, then add the corn kernels. (Note: do not use oil as you want to char the corn rather than sauté it.) Once the kernels begin to take on some colour, stir lightly to stop them from catching. When the corn is nicely toasted with charred bits here and there, remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool.

2. Combine the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt, sugars, cumin and pepper in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. Whisk the eggs in a separate medium bowl, then add the yoghurt, milk and melted butter. Fold this into the dry ingredients and mix to combine, then add the toasted corn kernels.

4. Preheat the oven to 210C (190C fan-forced). Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with softened butter, then divide the batter among the 12 holes (an ice-cream scoop with a release mechanism works well for even distribution). Top each with grated cheese and chilli slices. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

5. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out. The muffins are best eaten on the day, split and buttered. Leftovers may be heated in a hot oven for 5 minutes.