Introduction: Red Chili, Jalapeno Jack Cheese, & Bacon Cornmeal Muffins
Since I had some of the shredded Jalapeno & Habanero Jack Cheese left over from my London Broil au Poivre recipe that I recently posted, I decided to try using it in a Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread recipe that I often make.. However, this time I elected to make Cornmeal Muffins instead of Skillet Cornbread, and that proved to be a great decision. Not only were the good and spicy, they were also Gluten-free!
Step 1: INGREDIENTS (12 Muffins)
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal, *ground fine
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal, ground coarse
- 4 **slices bacon (I prefer Maverick's gluten-free Hickory Smoked Uncured No Sugar Recipe bacon), cooked crisp and crumbled - see next step)
- 4 TBS unsalted butter, melted
- 1 TBS Splenda
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 large eggs (I usually use organic brown eggs)
- 1 & 1/2 cups Buttermilk
- 1 & 1/2 cups shredded Jalapeno & Habanero Jack Cheese (Great Value brand)
- 1 red chili, seeds and veins removed, finely diced
- *NOTE: I like the texture of cornbread and cornmeal muffins made with a 50/50 blend of fine and coarsely ground yellow cornmeal better than all of one or the other.
- **NOTE: I only had a little over 3 slices of bacon left so that is all I could use this time, but that was OK.
Step 2: PREPARE THE BACON
- I prefer the Bacon Chef's method of cooking bacon because you can cook the bacon in the oven on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil, then fold up the greasy foil and throw it away once the bacon has been cooked and removed (IE., no pan to clean up).
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cover a suitably sized sheet pan with heavy duty aluminium foil (completely cover the pan; don't leave an open spots).
- Place the strips of bacon on top of the foil; they can be close together, but don't overlap them.
- Cook for 6 minutes, then rotate pan 180 degrees; cook for another 5 or 6 minutes, or until bacon is brown & crisp.
- Remove bacon and place on paper towel to drain.
- When cool enough to handle, crumble crisp bacon into a small dish and set aside.
- Don't turn off your oven if you are going to use it to bake the cornmeal muffins at this time. They should be baked at the same 400 degrees F.
Step 3: PREPARE THE CORNMEAL MUFFIN MIXTURE
- While the bacon is cooking, you can use the time to remove the stem, seeds, and veins from the red Chili and finely dice it; just be sure to wash your hands THOROUGHLY when this step is completed, otherwise everything you touch will be coated with the hot pepper residue (including your flesh)!
- Place the 4 TBS of unsalted butter in a heavy glass container (I use a mixing bowl) and set it on the back of the stove so that it will melt.
- Lightly grease the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin, and keep it handy.
- Get everything else ready to use:
- Mix the dry ingredients (cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking soda, & baking powder), together in a small bowl.
- Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter together in a large bowl until well blended.
- Pour the dry mixture into the bowl with the liquid egg mixture and gently stir or fold everything together using a rubber spatula.
- Add the crumbled bacon, diced red chili, and 1 cup of the shredded Jack Cheese, and mix with the spatula until all of the ingredients are well combined.
- Ladle this mixture into the muffin cups (fill each cup about 3/4's full;; if you have any mixture left over you can then distribute it evenly among the 12 cups).
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded Jack Cheese over the tops of the 12 muffins.
You are now ready to bake them (see next step)
Step 4: BAKE YOUR CORNMUFFINS
- Place the filled muffin pan into the already 400 degree f preheated oven.
- Bake for about 10 minutes; then rotate the pan 180 degrees; continue to bake another 8 to 10 minutes (total baking time should be about 18 to 20 minutes, or until toothpicks inserted into the centers of 2 or 3 muffins comes out clean).
- Remove the muffin pan from the oven and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes before attempting to remove the baked muffins.
- Remove the muffins from the muffin pan and let them cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving (I was happy to be able to lift each muffin out of its metal cup simply by inserting a long bamboo skewer through it sideways and gently lift up; they all came out clean - which doesn't always happen)!
Step 5: TIME TO EAT . . .
Ahhh, nice warm, spicy, cornmeal muffins. Try splitting one in half and spreading a little jam or jelly over it; you can even use a hot pepper jelly if you like (I'm enjoying mine with some Palmalito Jalapeno Pepper Jelly).
(If you don't think these cornmeal muffins are "hot" enough, try leaving the seeds of the Red Chili in the next time you make them. I dare you)!
Because these muffins contain bacon, butter, eggs, milk & cheese, please store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can reheat them in a 275 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or split them in half and toast them on the bagel setting of your toaster - cut side facing outward.
- NOTE: If you would prefer to make Skillet Cornbread using this recipe instead of cornmeal muffins, you can easily do so by placing the 4 TBS of unsalted butter in a heavy cast iron skillet in an oven preheated to 425 degrees.. Remove the skillet from the oven when the butter has melted and pour it into the egg & buttermilk mixture (whisk until mixture is completely blended). All other steps used in making the muffins should be similar, but bake for about 25 - 28 minutes,l then test with toothpick..
I have estimated the nutritional value of the ingredients in this recipe to the best of my ability using the MyFitnessPal Recipe Analyzer. - click on the image to enlarge.