This week London saw its first, and likely only short-lived snowfall this year. My husband had been watching weather reports for it since long before Christmas, in hopes that Nell; lover of all things ‘Snowman’ and ‘Frozen’, would get the chance to build her own. Finally it happened, and the nearly hour-long preparation of snow pants, coats, hats and gloves was met with a glorious ten minutes of snow play. She’s a Londoner, it’s not her fault she has no cold weather endurance.
Cleveland, Ohio, where I am originally from is no stranger to snow. In fact, it was one of my motivating factors to leave the city as its ‘winter season’ can stretch on from as early as October to as late as April. It’s no wonder Midwesterners are notoriously stereotyped for being overweight- insulation is necessary when winter is six months long!
To combat the long winter months I grew up with, we made various forms of chilli, eaten with mounds of grated melted cheese, sour cream (in the name of insulation of course) and accompanied by warm buttered hunks of cornbread.
These cornbread muffins are a standard winter favourite of ours. I start making them around Halloween for our annual party and carry on until pretty much springtime. You can make them with any sweet orange vegetable- squash, sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin etc. The veg helps the muffins stay moist, unlike a lot of cornbread which can end up being dry and crumbly. Plus it adds a little extra nutrition so you can justify making a meal out of just the muffins themselves.
This recipe was adapted from this Rachael Ray recipe so please excuse the American measurements..for reference a cup is approx a mug full.
Squash & Carrot Cornbread Muffins
1 cup carrot, squash or sweet potato mash (I roast the veg first than mash it all together with a fork)
3 heaped tbsp Greek yoghurt
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup fine ground cornmeal or instant polenta
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a muffin tray with paper cases or grease each hole with butter.
In a medium size bowl whisk together the vegetable mash, yoghurt, eggs and melted butter.
In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients; the polenta, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon if using.
Fold the wet ingredients gently into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
Scoop mixture into each lined or greased muffin cup, and bake for 15-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack until you can’t wait any longer. These muffins also freeze well.