Monday, October 26, 2009

Corn Muffins Jar Mix

Christmas is right around the corner and I have so many people on my list that are difficult to shop for and would appreciate a homemade gift much more than a random, generic, trinket-like gift.  I think they'll also make nice holiday gifts for my neighbors instead of the traditional plate of cookies.  Anyhow, here's a short and simple tutorial for assembling a cornbread or corn muffin jar mix.  The recipe is from the side of Albers corn meal box, by the way.

Jar Mix for Sweet Corn Muffins

Gently dump 1 1/2 c. of flour into the jar.  It's best to use a 1/4 measuring cup so you can fit it down into the jar when you dump it, thus avoiding getting a bunch of unsightly flour "splashed" up on the sides of the jar.  If this does happen, use a pastry brush to gently sweep it off. 

Give the jar a little shimmy or tap it down on the counter a few times to get the flour settled and even across the bottom of the jar.

Gently dump 1 T of baking powder and 1/2 t. of salt on top of the flour.  Give the jar a little tap again.

Gently dump 1/2 c. of yellow corn meal into the jar next and give that a little shimmy, too.  You have to be careful not to over-shimmy because that'll disturb all your layers.

One last gente dump of 2/3 c. of sugar and another tap-tap-tap and you're almost done!

There should be just enough space left in the jar for you to place 18 (or so) regular-sized muffin papers.

Gently affix the lid and the screwband.  You can also decorate the lid.  For this bumblebee lid I stamped the design on a piece of yellow fabric, cut it out and then stitched it (with 2 strands of black embroidery floss) to the yellow gingham fabric.  The rest of the steps can be found in my tutorial for scrappy jar lids.


The last step is to affix a tag or label.  Be sure to include the date, what the mix is for, and these directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove muffin papers from the jar and place them in muffin tins. 

  • In a large bowl, combine 2 large eggs (lightly beaten), 1 1/4 c. milk, 1/3 c. vegetable oil, and 3 T melted butter.

  • Add the contents of the jar and mix until just blended.

  • Pour batter into 18-20 muffin papers, about 2/3 full.

  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes.

  • Corn bread variation:  pour batter into 8" square, greased pan.  Bake for 35-45 minutes.
This jar mix is going in a small gift basket that I'm working on as a Christmas present for Susannah's preschool teacher.  I'm going to include some locally-harvested honey from the farmer's market and that's probably it because I want to keep it modest and simple.  There are so many things you could add if you wanted to make it a larger, more extravagant gift.  Consider a muffin tin, napkins or towels that coordinate with the jar lid, nice wooden spoons, a wooden honey drizzler, or a honey pot...the possibilities are endless!

Also, to fill the extra space after you've added the ingredients to the jar, consider some more decorative muffin papers or even individually-wrapped candy.  I also thought of goingt to KFC and swiping some honey packets to stuff in there, but that might be a bit tacky depending on who you're giving the gitft to.  Anything that is easy for the recipient to remove before dumping the contents can be added to that portion of the jar instead of the muffin papers.

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