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A single little muffin on a small plate beside the soup is no big deal.  It is a nice little deal.  Its presence at the beginning of a dinner of several courses does not take away one’s appetite at the sight–or thought–of a menu comprised of many different edibles.  There may even be a diner or two at the table who nibble decorously through one muffin and happily say, “Yes, please”, to a second…or even a third.

Small Spicy Roasted Pepper Corn Muffins (about 24 small muffins…muffin tin dimensions are given below)

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  • 1 and 1/4 cups of Yellow Cornmeal:   (Polenta substitutes very well if cornmeal isn’t available.)
  • 1/2 cup of Unbleached White Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) of grated Cheddar Cheese, the sharper the better
  • 3/4 cup of Buttermilk or 3/4 cup of Milk mixed with 1 Tablespoon of Plain Yogurt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 4 Tablespoons) of melted and cooled Butter, and some Butter to grease the muffin tins
  • 2 Tablespoons of Pickled Jalapeño Chilies, finely chopped
  • a 7-ounce jar of Roasted Red Peppers or 3 Whole Roasted Red Peppers from a larger jar:  drained, rinsed, patted dry and chopped


  • Muffin Pan(s):  The tins of the pan used for the small muffins in the photographs measure 2-inches across and 1-inch deep.  If you are using more than one pan, it’s a good idea to bake only 1 pan of muffins at a time.
  • 2 Bowls
  • a small Ice Cream or Cookie Scoop, optional and useful

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 F and butter the muffin tins.

2.  In one bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and Cheddar cheese.

3.  In the second bowl, mix the buttermilk (or milk and yogurt), egg, and melted and cooled butter.  Sir in the chilies and roasted red pepper.

4.  Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredient mixture…

…and stir gently…

…just until the mixtures combine:

5.  Divide the batter among the tins:

6.  Place the pan in the middle of the oven and bake until the muffins are golden and a skewer comes out clean—about 15 minutes.  (If you are making the muffins in several pans, it’s a good idea to bake only one pan at a time.)

7.  Tip the muffins sideways in the tins so that they don’t become damp as they cool…

…Leave them there and reheat briefly in the tins before serving:

A Note:  For A LowCountry Dinner Menu, these muffins are served with the soup and salad.  Small Spicy Roasted Pepper Corn Muffins are a successful accompaniment to drinks before dinner, too, or a good addition to a buffet, or a cocktail party.  The recipe is adapted from one in Gourmet Magazine (November 1994).

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© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012