Can you believe that spring is less than 3 weeks away?! Here in California, spring = strawberries. By the middle of March, there’s roadside fruit stands up and down the state with the freshest, brightest, juiciest berries you’ll ever taste.
Berries have been on my mind lately as I just finished my favorite book of the year so far, Eating on the Wild Side, in which Jo Robinson has put together the definitive resource on every category of fruit and vegetable; which varieties are the most nutritious, how to buy them, how to store them, and even how to cook them. It’s absolutely essential reading for any One Ingredient Chef and I would highly recommend it. These cornbread muffins were actually inspired by one short blurb from her chapter on berries:
The Iroquois marked each spring’s harvest with an annual “strawberry thanksgiving,” a ceremony of great importance. A common way for the Iroquois to prepare the berries was to bruise them in a mortar, mix them with cornmeal, and use the paste to make strawberry flat bread.
Cornmeal and strawberries! That sounded like such a wholesome and natural combination that I immediately began experimenting. The recipe below was created in the spirit of an Iroquois cook more than a pastry chef – these are not overly sweet and oily cakes, but just simple fluffy cornbread tie-dyed with mashed strawberries. Perfect.
Makes 12 muffins
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour (whole wheat or brown rice)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
- 2/3 cup mashed strawberries
Preheat the oven to 415º F
Prepare a “flax egg” which is becoming a standard thing for me – it adds so much texture and binding power to baked goods. To do this, combine 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2 1/2 tablespoons of water, stir together, and set aside for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare vegan buttermilk in a medium-sized mixing bowl by combining the non-dairy milk with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Also set aside for 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder). It’s important to actually sift these ingredients together – it will give you a lighter, more aerated batter which will enhance the fluffiness of your cornbread.
Note: I’ve also made these gluten free with brown rice flour and they’re incredible that way as well.
Back to the “buttermilk,” add in 1/4 cup each of maple syrup and canola oil as well as the flax egg. Whisk this together until thoroughly combined. Then, pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and gently whisk or fold together just until incorporated. Don’t over mix – some small lumps are fine.
Now for the good part. Adding strawberries and corn to these muffins is simply not optional, it adds so much depth of flavor that makes these guys taste brighter, fresher and more authentic. So, mash about 5 large strawberries in a bowl until you have something that resembles chunky jam. Gently fold these strawberries, along with about 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn, right into the batter.
Spoon this batter into cupcake liners (do yourself a favor and get some awesome reusable silicone ones). It would be possible to simply pour this into an 8×8 inch pan, but I think the texture is far superior when made in cupcake format. Pop in a preheated 415º F oven for about 20-25 minutes.
Note: It is important to not let these overcook, as they will dry out if left in the oven for too long. Check them often and remove from as soon as a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
Serving with a little melted coconut butter and maple syrup is highly recommended.
23 CommentsLeave a Reply
Strawberries and cornbread really do sound like a great combo. These look great! Which of the recommended flours did you use for this batch? They look nice and fluffy, which can be difficult with gluten-free flours! Have you actually tried it with the brown rice flour? I’m not familiar with that flour when it comes to baking.
Oh, and that book sounds amazing. I want to download it on my Kindle, but if it has a lot of pretty pictures, maybe I should get it in a hard copy?
Hey Jenni! I used whole wheat for this batch, but I’ve also tried all-purpose and brown rice. Surprisingly, the brown rice did come out almost just as fluffy, but I still prefer the whole wheat. The book IS amazing! 🙂 I was actually worried about the same thing, but there are hardly any pictures other than a few illustrations which show up fine on my iBook version.
Hugging you!!! Love love love cornbread!
I have fresh strawberries, will they be ok or are you finding frozen to work better with this recipe?
Hi Amber! I made these with fresh strawberries the first time (pictured) and when I ran out, used frozen. I didn’t notice any difference between the two. *hugs!* 🙂
These are fun, & I know they’ll be tasty! Do you have any suggestions for a replacement for the frozen sweet corn when I make them for a friend that’s allergic to corn? I like that addition & thought of nuts but they’re much crunchier than corn. I’d love to put something in that has a similar flavor & texture. (I’m planning to replace the cornmeal with almond meal when I make them for her. I look forward to making the recipe as is for those who aren’t allergic to corn some other time, though!) Thanks for another great recipe!
Thanks, Abbi! Hmm, someone asked this on Instagram and I said to just use more strawberries? The corn is awesome, but it wouldn’t matter much anyways if you’re not using cornmeal. So probably either more strawberries, nuts, chocolate chips, or even dried fruit like currants of berries?
I love this recipe! Do you know if pastry flour would work for this recipe? I’m all out of all-purpose and have every other ingredient on hand.
Hi Audrey, I think pastry flour should work just fine. Be daring, give it a shot! 🙂
I did! It was delicious!! 10/10 in my book 🙂
I have made this recipe twice this week, but subbed applesauce or peach sauce (homemade) for the oil. we don’t have strawberries here in ohio yet so I used some I had frozen last spring. Delicious!
Hey Jennifer, that’s awesome! I’m glad you subbed out the oil as well (peach sauce sounds delicious!)
I found that cooking the muffins at 415 degrees seemed to be to high for my altitude in N.M. as they did not rise; they almost burned. Next time I will lower the temp. to 375 degrees and see how that does.
Hi Diana, thanks for the feedback. That’s definitely a possibility. I noticed that these muffins didn’t rise too much anyways, but if they almost burned then lower temperatures would be a good idea! 🙂
These look amazing. Do you think it would work to make this recipe into a sort of loaf/bread instead of muffins? I’ve done that before with other muffin recipes… If so, what baking time and temp do you recommend?
Hi Melissa! I’m sure that would work fine, but I haven’t tried it myself and I really couldn’t say on the time/temperatures. I’d probably keep the temps around the same and just check it regularly until fully cooked. Good luck!
What would you think about using frozen or defrosted blueberries… I already ate all the strawberries! I also have loads of nectarines. ….
I think that’s a great idea! I’d love to try these muffins with blueberries. Give it a shot 🙂
I know this is a vegan site…I am not vegan but like a lot of your recipes. If I don’t have flaxseed do you think I could just use an egg? Thanks!
Ah, I don’t eat or cook with eggs so I wouldn’t have any idea.
If you had to use frozen would you miz and cook from frozen… I am afraid if i defrost my blueberries they will just turn to goop in the mix.
I also dont have a sifter.. Can i do any other method,
Hi Chris, ah I wouldn’t be too concerned about the frozen berries in the batter. They should be fine frozen. The sifter isn’t essential; just be sure to stir the dry ingredients well. Good luck!
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