Now it’s true that I made these muffins this morning for a segment that will appear tomorrow on Good Morning America tomorrow, (ABC 8 am EST) but you know it’s a great name for this ham and cheddar cheese filled beauties, even if they weren’t made for the show. They are a perfect breakfast muffin for kids to eat in a hurry before school because they are sort of sweet, (not too) but also pack a good helping of protein and fiber, which helps sustain focus, concentration and memory for the long morning until lunch. The muffins were a kid-friendly recipe I chose to teach to GMA host, Lara Spencer and her two gorgeous kids (of course…have you seen her?) in their lovely Connecticut home as part of a series on “Sneaky Learning” in which you take everyday activities and fight summer brain drain by introducing “teaching moments” into the mix.
Speaking of mixing, I chose a nice Honey Ham and a mild cheddar to introduce to this basic corn muffin recipe to make it even more kid-friendly. I had so much fun slipping in little educational moments for the kids, like doubling the recipe to get them to “do the math” and asking them to read the recipe out loud (hey, reading is reading!). We talked about what makes a cake puff up (baking powder and soda) and why it’s just like us blowing up a balloon, (carbon dioxide) and how when oil and water don’t mix it’s kind of like having a friend that’s really shy and you have to just work a little harder to get them to join in (whisk, whisk!). They got to learn that the main difference between brown eggs and white eggs these days is the color and not much else, that cheese comes from milk (fermentation), and you have to wash your hands after you get raw eggs on them (bacteria).
We got our hands into everything to learn about textures and finding good vocabulary words to describe the “silky” and “smooth” and “fine” feel of unbleached flour, compared to the “sandy” or “coarse” or “granular” way the cornmeal and sugar felt.
The kids tasted the cheese and the ham and learned how to hold it in their mouths and puff up there cheeks to really get a good taste, just like cooking show judges, and then declared if they thought each were “sweet, sour, salty or bitter.” We learned there is a way of mixing called “folding” that has you turning over batter like the pages of a book so you won’t overwork it and let all the bubbles from the baking powder disappear before you can get it all in the oven.
And after the muffin pan was filled (not all the way, to give it room to balloon!) we waited.
Not too long. And then tasted the hot and savory fruits of our labor! I just love
Hope you get to this in time to watch or TiVo the show…if not, I’ll be posting a link on the blog to view as soon as I can. The recipe and an article about my experience with the kids will be featured on ABC.com too. I’m very excited! It’s been a rough few weeks over here and getting called to do the show was a really nice little message from the universe that I’m supposed to be doing what I’m doing and that it’s OK to get back to work!
Make a bunch of these and freeze them for quick pop-in-the-toaster-or-microwave, hearty and healthy breakfast for the kids…or for yourself as you run out the door for work. Let me know how you like them!
Ham and Cheese Good Morning America Muffins
Makes 1 dozen
- 1 ¼ cups unbleached flour
- ¾ cup fine yellow cornmeal
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup corn oil
- 1 cup ham, ¼ inch dice
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- OPTIONAL ADD-INS: ¼ cup finely chopped chives or scallions OR 1/2 cup frozen or canned corn kernels
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray, oil, butter or line the wells with paper muffin liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, which are: flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, which are: eggs, milk, and oil.
- Combine the dry and wet ingredients in the larger bowl. One they are completely mixed together to form a smooth batter, fold in the diced ham and the cheese.
- Spoon or pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling each one only three quarters of the way to the top. Place the muffin pan in the warmed up oven and bake them for 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden brown.
- Remove muffins from oven and let them cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 3-5 minutes, then turn over the pan and pop the muffins out gently and let them cool on the rack completely.
- These are great served warm, with a little butter or jam, or plain. The muffins can be frozen in a sealed freezer bag for up to three months and reheated in the microwave (about 30 seconds) in the toaster oven or sliced in half and toasted in a buttered skillet.