I am sure this post will find most of you in full-force preparation for the big Thanksgiving Day feast - maybe you are doing last minute shopping, fine-tuning your menu with new dishes, or arguing with Aunt Sarah about who's stuffing recipe is better. Or maybe you aren't a planner, and are just counting down the days and dreaming of golden brown turkeys covered with rich gravy, gooey sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Either way, I feel pretty certain that you are awaiting the big day with major anticipation.
Me? I am doing none of the above, because I already had my big Thanksgiving meal this past weekend. Since I wasn't able to head home to be with my family this year, I knew I had to gather together with my San Diego family to eat, drink, and be merry. For me, Thanksgiving really isn't Thanksgiving unless I am seated at a table, surrounded by people I love, laughing and smiling while I eat warm, filling food.
My friends were more than happy to accept my invitation for dinner, and for many of them, it would the the first of two Thanksgivings. Knowing they would be able to have turkey again took some of the pressure off as far as cooking goes, but anyone who knows me, will tell you that I can't help but go all out. So I brought a little fall spirit inside with festive table decorations, I made the most of the space in my tiny apartment, and I cooked up a storm. I even got a special Turkey Day Feast meal for my favorite little puppy. We crowded as many people as could possibly fit around my table, and we dug into the feast.
Here was my Thanksgiving Menu:
- Honey Cornbread Muffins, with Maple Butter
- Herbed Butter Turkey with rich herbed gravy
- My Mom's Cranberry Relish
- Sage and Sausage Stuffing
- Roasted Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes
- Almond Green Beans
- The Best Mini Pumpkin Muffins
- Brown Sugar Cheesecake with Brandied Caramel Sauce
- White Chocolate, Pecan, and Cranberry Cookies
- Pumpkin Pie
- Wine, wine, and more wine!
For me, my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is usually the stuffing. Or maybe the cranberry relish. And of course I adore the turkey. Alright. So basically, its is fair to say that I love everything about the meal (because seriously, what's not to love?!), and I am usually so focused on filling my belly with warm thanksgiving-only type foods (ie. stuffing and cranberry relish) that I forget all about the bread. Actually, that is not true - I purposely reject the bread because I can eat it any other time of the year and be just as happy with its ordinariness.
But cornbread...now that is a different story.
When I was growing up, my family didn't really eat that much cornbread - we were more dinner roll people. I don't think anyone in my family disliked cornbread, but you know, it was just one of those things we didn't eat often. But as an adult (or when I pretend to be an adult), I have found myself craving cornbread - I love the crumbly but soft texture, the sweet flavor, and the way the little pat of butter is just perfect on each bite.
Yeah, cornbread is pretty much amazing.
So of course, since I was going all out for Thanksgiving, I had to make cornbread. I toyed with the idea of cheesy cornbread, then changed my mind to mini cornbread muffins, and then finally realized that nothing but a full-sized Honey Cornbread Muffin would do. I ended up tweaking a couple of different recipes to get something that I really liked, and also something that used less dishes - most of the recipes I used in the past called for mixing dry ingredients in one bowl and then wet ingredients in another. Seriously, preparing Thanksgiving dinner uses enough dishes already, so I figured I could cut down on one. And so I did. Easy-peasy and it still worked great.
My one-bowl cornbread muffins baked up fluffy and sweet, and they were perfectly golden around the edges. I doubled the recipe I listed below, because everyone loves cornbread, and I love leftovers.
So if you are still looking for a last minute addition to your Thanksgiving table, or making your final list of things to prepare, add this recipe. You can whip up a batch of these in no time, and I promise you will love the soft, moist texture, and the sweet honey flavor. Pair these muffins with some maple butter, and your guests will think you are a culinary genius.
But most importantly, give thanks for your family, thanks for your friends, and thanks for the food on your table. The hustle and bustle of this time of year often makes us forget just how fortunate we really are. So appreciate the little things, and remember that you are blessed. And whomever you gather together with on Thanksgiving, I hope your day is a happy one.
You might also like: Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread
One year ago: Pumpkin Bread, and Rum Raisin Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Honey Cornbread Muffins with Maple Butter
Makes 10-12 muffins, depending on size.
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp melted butter, cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease the cups of a muffin tin very well.
Make the batter by first whisking all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then make a well in the center and add the butter, buttermilk, egg, and honey. Using the whisk, break up and beat the egg into the batter as you mix it all together. Mix until everything is just uniform, and then use a cookie scoop or a spoon to fill the muffin cups about 1/2-3/4 full (less full will give you about 12 muffins and more full will yield about 10 muffins).
Bake muffins in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes (mine were perfect at almost exactly 13 minutes every time), or until they are just slightly golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool muffins in the tin on a cooling rack for about 10-15 minutes, then carefully remove them from the tin to cool completely. Serve immediately with maple butter (recipe below), or cover and keep at room temperature overnight, or refrigerated for up to three days. (I have also read that muffins like this can be frozen, though I haven't tried it myself.)
2 sticks unsalted butter
3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Bring the butter to room temperature. Then use stand or hand mixer to beat butter until creamy, then beat in 3 tablespoons maple syrup gradually. Blend until smooth, then taste, and if you like, add another tablespoon of maple syrup. Transfer to a small dish and refrigerate for up to a week before serving.