Monday, November 24, 2014

Sommer's Navajo Blue Corn Cake with Honey Butter

Navajo cuisine is straightforward; beans, squash, corn, potatoes, meat and simple unleavened bread all garnished with salt, pepper, and onions. The real flavor is the outdoor method of cooking and in the variety of chili peppers used (sometimes being eaten raw along side a dish).

I was at a loss recently when trying to find something to being to a Relief Society "Share your Heritage" night and asked pretty much everyone I knew for a recipe. We all had the same ideas, frybread, stew, blue corn mush....

But I wanted something that would be more 'palatable' for those who weren't used to bland Navajo food and I didn't want to take the time to make frybread unless I could do it 'real' justice...meaning fresh fried on site. Cold frybread is no way to introduce someone to what the real thing is.

Anyway I came up with my own recipe that is light and fluffy,  not too bland, and not too sweet...just perfect in my book. I call it Navajo Blue Corn Cake which can be made in muffin form or in a cake pan.

Yield: 12 squares

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Blue Corn Meal
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup (1stick) Melted butter
1 cups Granulated Sugar
1 cups Milk
3 eggs
1 tsp juniper ash (optional)

Sommer's Secret: Juniper ash (usually used in Navajo blue corn recipes)would greatly complement this recipe but I didn't have any.

Sommer's Secret:  You can use regular corn meal but then is no longer blue corn bread :o)....I guess there's always blue food coloring (I won't judge) but the taste won't be the same....but still yummy!
I used  my 'Navajo Maize' Blue Corn Meal


1. Melt butter.

Sommer's Secret: I keep most of my butter in the freezer and always forget to set it out in time to reach room temperature. And I somehow manage to forget how to change the temperature on the microwave ie: 30% or low etc. Microwaving at regular temperature or high just splatters it all over. So instead I use the "time defrost" setting for 2-3 minutes to soften and melt my butter (less time to just soften the butter).

2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 

3. Mix until well incorporated (there may be a few lumps).

4. Pour into a greased or sprayed 9X13” pan. Or papered muffin tins.

Sommer's Secret: I use a "trigger" ice cream scoop to get uniform muffins and doubled the recipe for 3 dozen muffins with a little left over for a tiny loaf.

5. Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the center springs back when you touch it lightly.

Sommer's Secret: I find it more most when you under cook it slightly where the center springs back but "dents in" just a little to the touch. 

6. Serve warm with butter.

Sommer's Secret: Some Honey Butter would bring these muffins over the top but it's plenty sweet on it's own.

Sommer's "2 Ingredient" Honey Butter

1 stick butter or margarine
3 TBS to 1/4 cup Honey

1. Soften butter or margarine to room temperature or in microwave.

2. Mix in honey to taste until smooth and creamy.

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