Cherry Cornbread Muffins (and congratulations Andrea G. our giveaway winner!)

It’s been pretty eventful over here at A Little Yumminess HQ. Over the weekend, Simran and I had a chance to teach an Indonesian homecooking class at one of the coolest culinary venues in San Francisco. 18 Reasons (the nonprofit arm of the always awesome Bi-Rite market and creamery) is located on 18th and Dolores streets, smackdab in the middle of food heaven. You can walk out the door of 18 Reasons and literally stumble into such drool-worthy spots as Tartine, Delfina, and Namu. Just driving through that neighborhood makes my stomach growl! 18 Reasons organizes a fantastically diverse line-up of events — you can pop in for their regular soup suppers, bring a homemade topping to share at a community ice cream social, learn how to make cheese, taste artisan whiskeys, or practice the art of Japanese knife skills and sharpening….. To say that we are honored to be a part of their community is a major understatement. In about a month we’ll be back at 18 Reasons to kick off our first ever “A Little Yumminess Around the World” summer camp, where we’ll cook, eat and craft our way around the world with a dozen 6-8 year olds. Talk about a food adventure — and we couldn’t be more excited.

But where does one’s mind wander after weeks of obsessing about curry pastes and fiery sambals? In this case, sweet summery cherries and crispy-edged cornbread — two of my family’s absolute favorites rolled into one perfect little muffin. As these things often go, we lucked onto this recipe while searching for something else (a recipe for pumpkin muffins from Arizmendi Bakery). We never did find that one, but came across a fellow Arizmendi fan, Andrew Molitor, on The Fresh Loaf blog who tinkered until he was able to re-create their also delicious blueberry-corn muffins. [Sadly neither of these muffin recipes appear in the Cheese Board Collective Works cookbook.] These cornbread-like muffins are not too sweet and manage to be both crispy and moist at the same time which makes them pretty near perfect. You could use any kind of fruit (fresh or dried), but we really like them with fresh cherries and the mini muffin size is just right for little snackers. These are really (really!) good and I hope you have the chance to give them a try.

Last, but certainly not least… congrats to Andrea G. who won our giveaway of the “Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids” by Helen Olsson and muchas gracias to everyone who chimed in with camping-related comments and tidbits. Stay tuned for our camping and trail food recipe collection — coming soon!

Muffin Time!

Cherry Cornbread Muffins

Adapted from the Arizmendi Bakery-inspired recipe by Andrew Molitor. Makes 2 dozen mini muffins.

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and mist your mini muffin pans with vegetable oil (if you don’t have cooking spray, you can grease the muffin tin with butter)

2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them well:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

3. Cut 5 tablespoons of butter into pieces and use a pastry cutter to blend the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture will be clumpy and crumbly and the butter should be fairly evenly distributed into the dry ingredients.

4. In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients and whisk well:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together until just blended but don’t overmix. Scoop batter into prepared mini muffin tin, sprinkling a few fresh, sliced cherries into each muffin as you go.

  • Fresh Cherries: I used about 1 pitted, quartered cherry per muffin, so you’ll need about two dozen whole cherries which should be about 1 heaping cup of fruit before pitting and quartering.

6. Bake at 425 degrees until deeply golden on top (about 20 minutes for mini muffins in my oven, but start checking them after 15 minutes).

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Our First Giveaway, The Banana Slug Hike and Laure’s Chocolate and Sea Salt Sables

These days Stacie and I are among Laure’s (Frog Mom’s) biggest fans.  She recently took us an amazing hike (rain notwithstanding) at the Purisma Creek Redwoods in Half Moon Bay.  We tramped across creeks, collected maple leaves, built fairy houses and had an unbelievable lunch (sandwiches, pork buns, savory apple-cheddar scones and freshly baked chocolate and sea salt sables) protected from the rain under the tall canopy of redwood trees. Much to the children’s delight, we encountered about a “million” banana slugs also out for walk along the damp trail, as well as little colonies of mushrooms nestled among the pine needles. As we made our way to a small clearing, Laure magically whipped up a round of hot cocoa for the kids and they let the rain drops cool their chocolate to the perfect sipping temperature. So what at first seemed like a stroke of bad luck (gray skies, wet weather, mud) ended up making our day even more wonderful in the end (ethereal ambiance, banana slugs, hot chocolate). Pure magic!

We had waffled a bit before setting off that morning, but I am so glad that Laure “gently nudged us” to to make the drive and brave the wet weather.  The children did remarkably well (so many puddles to jump in!) and we found ourselves completely inspired by Laure’s energy, enthusiasm and knowledge of family friendly hiking, not to mention her skills as a baker. Bay Area trails here we come!

On the heels of this fantastic adventure, we are thrilled to share Laure’s hiking finds and recommendations with you with our first ever, super special giveaway. We’re giving away a signed copy of Laure’s fabulous new book, “Best Hikes with Kids in the San Francisco Bay Area”.  You can find details on how to enter at the end of this post. But first the recipe of the delicious chocolate and sea salt sables that I ate way, way too many of….

Chocolate and Sea Salt Sables (adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques – Laure has made this recipe her own by tweaking it a bit and using salted butter and cocoa nibs.  Salt & chocolate are a match made in heaven. Yum!)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 8 tbsps (1 stick) salted butter
  • 6 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 extra large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp coffee extract (optional)
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips and cocoa nibs
  • 1 to 2 tbsp light brown sugar

Method

  1. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together.  Add the salt.
  2. In the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and confectioner’s sugar at medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg yolk and coffee extract (if using), and beat until fluffy again.
  4. Add the dry ingredients slowly, and mix at slow speed.  The dough should be crumbly and not quite bound together.
  5. Right before dough comes together, add the chocolate chips and cocoa nibs just to incorporate
  6. Shape the dough into logs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  7. Roll the logs in the light brown sugar and wrap each one in plastic
  8. Refrigerate until very cold and firm
  9. Preheat oven to 350F
  10. Slice the dough into 1/4 inch thick rounds and place them 1/2 inch apart on on parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes until set.

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The GIVEAWAY: Frog Mom’s Best Hikes with Kids in the San Francisco Bay Area – an essential resource for Northern California parents and the perfect gift for your Bay Area mom or dad friends if you live elsewhere.  To enter, you MUST leave a comment at the end of this post (and/or do one or all four of the things below) telling us about your favorite hike/walk/stroll/stroller walk with kids or your favorite trail snack. It can be a urban walk/hike as well to the ice-cream shop as well.  🙂 Be sure to include your email address on the comment form  (it’ll be visible only to us) so we can contact you if you win.

The giveaway will be open till 12:00 midnight PST Monday, November 7th, 2011.  We’ll select a lucky winner using random.org and announce the winner here on the blog.  Good luck and thanks for participating!!

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MORE WAYS TO WIN OUR GIVEAWAY, READ ON……

Because this book is so great and we know you’re going to want a copy, we’ve included a few other ways to win. We’ll give you an additional contest entry for each of the following, up to 5 entries total per person. To register your additional giveaway entries, please let us know that you liked/followed/subscribed in your comment about favorite kid-friendly hikes and trail snacks.

  • Like A Little Yumminess on Facebook or let us know that you already like us.
  • Follow @alittleyum on Twitter or let us know that you already follow us.
  • Subscribe to A Little Yumminess (use the subscription form in the top right corner), or let us know that you already subscribe.
  • Like Frog Mom on Facebook, or let us know you already follow Frog Mom.