Most of us have a short list of recipes that, for one reason or another, we return to again and again. One of the recipes from my own time-honored list is a cross between baked corn and cornbread that my friend Jen gave me shortly after I graduated from college. The easy-to-make dish goes with seemingly everything, relies on pantry staples, can be made ahead, freezes well and– perhaps most importantly– is a consistent crowdpleaser.
Corn Spoon Bread, as it’s called, is a welcome addition to every holiday table from Thanksgiving through Easter as well as a convenient weeknight staple. Plus, it tastes even better when reheated, making it an ideal recipe to take to a friend in need. (I often pair it with another simple comfort food–Slow Roasted Whole Chicken–along with a salad or green veggie.)
One item on the short list of ingredients is a small box of corn muffin mix, which made the much-loved recipe for corn spoon bread off limits for gluten-free family and friends. After a specific request from a family member who missed this flavorful casserole after having to give up wheat products several years ago, I created a homemade version of the boxed muffin mix. Since then, I’ve served the dish countless times and no one can ever tell whether it’s been made with the store-bought or copycat mix.
For many years, I only used my gluten-free flour blend, which I concocted ten years ago when my dad developed a wheat allergy. More recently, I’ve also used Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour for a convenient and delicious option.
Will make 6 corn muffins.
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend (like Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten-free 1-to1 baking flour)
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup milk (plus 1-2 extra tablespoons to bring batter together as batter will be stiff; see notes)
- Optional but highly recommended: 1/2 cup (half an 8.5-ounce can) creamed corn
- Other optional ingredients: 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese; 2 ounces canned chilies
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl, mix well.
Whisk in vegetable oil and mix until the mixture is smooth and the lumps are gone. May be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks.
If a recipe calls for a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, simply add the above mixed ingredients to that recipe in lieu of the mix.
To make Corn Muffins, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and grease 6 cups of a standard-size muffin tin.
Combine mix with egg, milk and creamed corn and any other optional mix-ins, being careful not to over mix. Allow the batter to rest for 2-3 minutes. You will see the batter becomes light and fluffy.
Scoop the batter into the greased muffin cups, distributing evenly. For light and tender muffins, take care not to overwork and “deflate” the batter. Bake for 11-14 minutes, plus or minus a minute or two, depending on use of optional ingredients and typical oven variances. You want the muffins to be just cooked through the center. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then remove to a rack.
The muffins are moistest the day of baking, but I use an easy trick to freshen any leftovers: Once cool, wrap any leftovers and refrigerate. When ready to eat, place on a plate and wrap in a damp paper towel. Reheat very gently for moist, almost new muffins.
- When using the creamed corn, the extra tablespoon or so of milk to bring the batter together will not be necessary. Use of the creamed corn will heighten the corn flavor and provide good moisture. Also, any dairy or plant-based milk may be used. Muffins made with coconut milk or whole milk are slightly moister than muffins made with nonfat milk.
The homemade mix can be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge, where it will stay fresh for at least a month.The easy recipe for Corn Spoon Bread is a great way to use the copycat Jiffy mix and can be made in one 9×13-inch baking dish or two 9-inch pie plates.