Corn Muffins

3 Nov

I have a lot to say about Corn muffins. (No, I’m not going to go on about how long it’s been since the last post or promise that i’ll be better. Rather, I’ll just stick to the topic at hand). Sam & I ate a lot of corn muffins as kids with huge pats of butter, which we referred to as Sammie Sandwiches. You’d take a bite – then in a game we called Batteries- you’d move your arms around like a robot until you swallowed it and then you had to freeze. And could only be unfrozen when the other person said your full name. Which inevitably led to the same jokes of feigned ignorance… “Wait, what’s your middle name again?”

Childhood stories aside I’ve always found corn bread and corn muffin recipes to be a bit disappointing. Especially when you can just make a box of Jiffy – which let’s face it, is delicious. But these are so good they are motivating me out of Snacko Backo retirement. The picture and story should serve as a friendly reminder to always slather with butter. And if you are feeling bold, drizzle with maple syrup, mmmmm…..

These are delicious anytime but ’tis the season, so think about enjoying w a warm bowl of chili or even a thanksgiving dinner…? (Made this Veg chili the other day, still so delicious)

This recipe comes from the New York Times. Tiny rant – I hate how they put up a paywall to see recipes. I just.. ugh.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (plus more for butter pan and eating)

2 cups coarse or stone ground cornmeal (this is important – you just aren’t going to get that satisfying texture w. fine ground)(another tip – brands like Bob’s Red Mill label it as Corn grits/Polenta. And you find it in grocery store with grains, not with baking flours etc. And apparently you are supposed to any leftovers in fridge).

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1 tsp fine sea salt (i did more like a heaping tsp of kosher salt)

1 cup sour cream or whole milk yogurt

1/2 cup whole milk

2 large eggs, at room temp

Demerara sugar (or sugar in the raw), as needed

(note I am moving the butter the pan stage down after mixing. NYT reviews says some wait time after mixing ingredients gives some time for the baking powder to activate. Not sure if that’s true… but does seem to hold when I make pancakes…)

Heat oven to 400.

In large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In separate bowl, whisk together melter butter, sour cream, milk and eggs. Fold butter mix into dry ingredients.

Generously butter the cups and tops of muffin tins (these muffins will overflow). (I made some w paper baking cups and surprisingly preferred those without. It’s like you get all this additional crispy surface area without).

Then scoop (cookie or ice cream scoop work well) batter into tins. This made 12 muffins filled to the brim. Sprinkle each muffin top w Demerara sugar.

Bake until golden on the edges, 18-22 mins. Cool on wire rack for 10 mins, remove from muffin tin and cool to room temp. Serve w even more softened butter.



Earthquake Cookies!

19 Dec

Oh man, are these good. admittedly, slightly more work than your average- say choc chip cookie- but way worth it. They taste pretty much exactly like brownies. The recipe comes from Sofra bakery- which is an outstanding bakery in Belmont, MA. Guess people also call these chocolate crinkle cookies. I will say too, they are quite pretty and fitting for the holiday season.

Call it laziness or efficiency, but I’m just cutting and pasting the recipe from New


Total time: 1 hour, plus at least 8 hours chilling time
Hands-on time: 40 minutes

Makes: 2 dozen cookies


  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), melted and cooled [snacko backo- i used bittersweet ghirardelli chips]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar


Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Combine the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until light and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl. Lower the speed and add the eggs one at a time, scraping between additions. Still on low speed, add the chocolate. Mix until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla to the mix. Staying on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture in three additions, scraping the bowl between additions.

Transfer the dough, which will resemble very wet batter, to a bowl; cover and refrigerate at least overnight, and up to 1 week.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the confectioners’ sugar and the granulated sugar in separate bowls. [ i feel like i only ended up using like a 1/2 cup of each so maybe start there when pouring in bowls]

Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop or portion scoop and shape the cookies into a ball. Roll each ball into the granulated sugar first and then into the confectioners’ sugar, coating completely.

Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet 1/2-inch apart. Bake until puffed and cracked and just set around the edges, 14 to 16 minutes. The centers will still be soft and appear under-baked. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Serve right away or store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


Tartine Brownies

15 Nov

This has been my go-to brownie recipe for a while now. It comes from the amazing Tartine bakery in SF. Sent to me by the lovely Jess P. The merits of this recipe are many. You’ll notice it uses only brown sugar, has a whole pound of melted chocolate and whipped eggs which give it that light and fluffy texture. Serve them warm and they are gooey and delicious. Move them to the fridge, and they’ll transform into a dense fudgy texture. Either way, these are not your cakey brownies and anyone looking those… well I’ll refrain from throwing insults here…

I like to top these with a sprinkle of fleur de sel (a lovely and light sea salt) before putting in the oven. Or with the giant m&m’s that only come out around easter. Because they are so rich, I often cut them into relatively small pieces but follow your heart. And who says your brownies need to be uniform, I like to vary them in size for those who want a little more or a little less.  I’ll also often bake them a day ahead if brining to a party because time in the fridge makes them easier to cut.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I use the ghirardelli 60% choc chips)
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9″x13″ glass baking dish with parchment.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. If the heat from the butter does not fully melt the chocolate, put the pan back over the heat for 10 seconds and stir until melted. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4 to 5 minutes. [in the stand mixer- it never seems to take me this long. I just watch out for the wide ribbons] Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with the rubber spatula so that you don’t deflate the air that’s been incorporated into the eggs.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. If you are using nuts, evenly distribute them across the batter [Not my thing. Or be like snacko, sprinkle some fleur de sel] Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, about 25 minutes [they won’t look really done but take them out anyway]. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares, or size desired [as I said, cut into at least double that]. The brownies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.



Honey Sriracha Wings

9 Apr

This recipe comes from Copicut Farms, the excellent chicken purveyors at my local farmers market. Not only were these delicious, but dare i say, they were beautiful. they really solved the problem i was having with a run of too pale buffalo wings.  The cooking method and soy/honey combos lends a rich brown coloring. By the way, don’t make a second batch without cleaning the pan, because man i did, and the honey got scorched on to my pan, and i ended up taking off a layer of my cast iron in cleaning.

  • 6 chicken drumsticks or 6 full wings (12 wing pieces)
  • 1/4 soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • juice and zest for 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 green onion, slice thinly for garnish
  • toasted sesame seeds for topping (optional)

To make

  1. Season chick with salt and pepper to taste. if using wings, cut each into wing piece (see diagram below). Keep drumette and wingette, discard tip.
  2. whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, zest, balsamic, honey, sriracha, chili flakes, garlic and ginger, set aside.
  3. preheat oven to 400.
  4. heat cast iron over med heat and add olive oil. Lightly brown chick on all sides. Spoon half sauce over each piece of chick and use tongs to turn the chick pieces so it absorbs the sauce all over. Allow to cook in skillet for another 2 minutes.
  5. Place entire skillet into preheated oven, turning chick regularly with tons and adding another spoonful of the reserved half of the sauce over each piece of chicken. bake uncovered for 20-25 mins until chick is cooking through and skin is caramelized
  6. Plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, chopped green onions and cilantro.


Steak- How to

9 Apr

Oh man, never have i ever cooked a steak to such perfection. This method come from Man Made, a DIY site for men, or as they put it “Creativity and the Handmade Life for the Postmodern Male.” That’s right.  And these guys got steak right. They say this works best for a 1.5/2 inch cut of steak. I used a rib-eye.

  1. Salt your steak. Do so liberally. With coarse seat salt (I used a smoked maldon). They recommend do this at least a day ahead, or up to three. I did maybe 15 mins ahead and still worked. About an hour before going to cook, take out steak and let get to room temp. Just before cooking, sprinkle with pepper. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Heat oven-proof skillet (i used cast iron) on stove. Lightly coat pan with a neutral oil (like canola, with high smoke point) and heat until just smoking.
  3. Lay meat down. Leave for two to three minutes (i did 3) to get a good sear. (resist temptation to pick it up and look before this). Flip over. Cook another 2 mins. Adding in flavoring. For this I used one smashed clove of garlic and a nice pat, maybe 2 tsp of butter. Butter will melt and brown, baste your steak with this. Can also add spring of rosemary or thyme, or leave out aromatics.
  4. Then transfer pan to oven. 5-7 min for rare, 7-10 for medium. I did 7 min and it was perfectly pink.
  5. Be sure to let it rest 5-10 min before cutting into it.

Didn’t make tonight, but another snackobacko fave trick is after take out of pan, deglaze with some glugs of leftover red wine. Heat on high, until it reduces and thickens slightly, such that if you graze your pan with a wooden spoon it’s leaves a visible path that holds momentarily. Pour on steak and enjoy.

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