Cornbread muffins are round baked breads that generally are small and are made from cornmeal. They are the same type of bread as regular cornbread except that they are baked in a muffin pan. Their size depends on the muffin pan that the baker is using. Cornbread muffins do not have frostings or glazes and might be warm or cool when served. Butter is a common accompaniment.
Yellow cornmeal is the key ingredient in cornbread and cornbread muffins. The baker mixes the cornmeal with wheat flour and other ingredients, such as milk, buttermilk, baking powder, eggs and sugar, although the exact ingredients vary by region and recipe. Pre-mixed dry ingredients are available in markets in many areas. After greasing a muffin pan or placing paper muffin or cupcake liners in the pan, the baker adds the batter and bakes the muffins for 15 to 25 minutes. The muffin size and oven temperature determine the exact length of time.
Cornbread muffins are versatile and can be part of a main meal, an afternoon snack or a dessert. The specific use depends both on personal preference and the type of cornbread, which varies between regions. For example, a coarse cornbread muffin probably will not show up as a dessert but might be an initial morsel before a meal. An advantage of cornbread muffins over regular cornbread is that there usually will be fewer crumbs that fall off a muffin compared with a slice cut from a baked slab in a pan.
These muffins are well suited to having many mixed-in ingredients, such as fruit, vegetables or spices. Each muffin is baked individually, so it is easier to split up the batter and create different types of cornbread muffins within one batch. This means that the baker can make muffins that are plain along with ones that have chopped peppers or blueberries, for example.
In some places, such as the United States, there are some regional differences when it comes to cornbread. The muffin form is not a traditional shape — regular cornbread recipes typically have the baker use a baking dish or round cast-iron skillet — but the particular recipe used often varies from one region to another. Sweet, cake-like muffins are more typical of recipes from the northern United States for example, and recipes from the southeast United States and Texas tend to be much coarser. This change in texture is a result of the different ratios of cornmeal and flour, and the addition or omission of sugar, eggs and butter.