A lesson in saving the best for last

I'm the kind of person – with food in particular – who saves the best for last.

Presented with a plate of nachos, I'll stockpile the cheesiest chips. Pass me a slice of toast, and I'll eat the crusts all around to leave that square of buttered perfection in the middle. Give me a square of iced cake and I'll eat the bottom half plain just to have a better icing-to-cake ratio for the end.

When it comes to muffins, I love the crunchy edges of the muffin top. So it should be no surprise that, when faced with a muffin to eat (oh the burden), I begin with the stem and work my way up.

A few years ago, I received a great silicone muffin mould for Christmas. No more bothering with paper muffin cups or greasing muffin tins; perfect muffins that you can literally pop right out onto the cooling rack. I really thought I was set, until I baked my first batch. My super fantastic silicone muffin mould has one huge drawback: the muffin cups are unusually deep. So, I can make either huge muffins with desirable top-to-stem proportions or, alternatively, normal-size muffins that are decidedly stem-heavy (like the Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins featured here).

It begs the question: What do you do when your muffin is all stem and there's no best to save for last?

Answer: You grow to love stems and get a new approach to life.

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup fine-grind cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 heaping cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or line 12 muffin cups (or take out your handy dandy silicone muffin mould and thank your lucky stars).

In a bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and brown sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the milk and melted butter and whisk until well blended.

Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean (about 15-2 minutes). Note that the muffins may take a bit longer to bake if you use frozen blueberries. Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning them out to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Yields 12 muffins.

Source: Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking, p. 104.