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vice or virtue?!

It was cold (well, it was 69 degrees, which is cold for us in March) windy and rainy yesterday, the perfect day for baking!

These savory little muffins came to be after Matt McLinn, Executive Chef at The Grind, taught at Les Gourmettes and left behind a batch of his candied jalapeños. This particular batch had gone past the point where Matt usually cooks them at the restaurant and had dried out to the real “candied” stage. Usually, they are still juicy and dripping with syrup.  The recipe below makes them that way, if you want them to be more dried out like they are pictured here, just cook them long after the vinegar is added, to dry them out. I prefer them still juicy though and they will work perfectly in this recipe either way. Matt uses them on his “to-die-for” burgers. You’ll want to use them on and in just about everything you can imagine… trust me, they are an addiction!

Along with that new vice, you should know that the muffin recipe makes a whole heck of a lot of mini muffins … how many?  Nearly 100!

Don’t try to count the muffins in the picture above. Before it was taken, I’d already delivered 2  1/2 dozen of the little gems to my sweet neighbor, Lori, who lent me 2 of the eggs I needed to make them.

I have four mini-muffin pans, so I had to make them in two batches. You can easily cut the recipe in half, but they freeze great and make the most wonderful party-size appetizer sandwiches.  Just cut in half, spread with a little jalapeño butter or jalapeño jelly, and fill with shaved deli ham or turkey.  So Amazingly Good!

Sweet and Spicy Cheddar-Jalapeño Mini-Muffins

Candied Jalapeños ala The Grind
8 ounces jalapeño peppers
8 ounces red Fresno peppers (most likely labeled red jalapeño)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup white vinegar

Jalapeño Butter
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup finely chopped candied jalapeño
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled; for brushing mini-muffin cups
2 cups white cornmeal
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups buttermilk, well shaken before measuring
4 eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup) melted unsalted butter
4 cups (about 10 ounces) shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup frozen white corn kernels
1/2 cup minced candied jalapeño

Candied Jalapeños: Thinly slice all peppers.  In a large skillet bring the sugar, water, and salt to a boil.  Continue to boil, without stirring, until the sugar is dissolved,  allow to boil 1 more minute, then add the peppers. Stir to coat the peppers with the liquid. Continue to boil until the peppers become bright and begin to look candied, carefully add the vinegar (it will bubble up).  Boil 1 more minute, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Butter: In the bowl of a food processor, blend together the butter, jalapeño, and salt.  Serve with muffins.

Muffins: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use the 2 tablespoons of melted butter to brush mini-muffin cups. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and 1/2 cup of melted butter.

Use a large rubber spatula to fold the shredded Cheddar, corn kernels, and minced jalapeños into the dry ingredients.

Use the same spatula to gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, just until everything is moist, take care to not over-mix, or your muffins will be tough.

Divide the batter evenly between the mini-muffin cups, filling about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until muffin tops are golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Remove pans to a rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pans, then cool muffins completely on the rack.

No need to wash the muffin tins, just wipe out muffin cups with a dry paper towel to get out most of the crumbs left behind. Then allow muffin tins to cool to at least room temperature before brushing with the melted butter, refilling, and baking the next batch.

Makes 96 mini-muffins or about 30 standard size (bake standard size muffins for about 25 minutes)

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1 sloane { 03.22.11 at 3:03 PM }

Man I wish I could taste those!

2 Marissa { 03.23.11 at 10:36 AM }

Kaley ate like 6 of these the other night when she was over.

3 Linda Hopkins { 03.23.11 at 10:53 AM }

Sloane, have them in the freezer… just waiting for you! xoxox

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