Things Mother Used to Make: Cornmeal Gems

vintage maid putting food in ovenFrom the 1914 cookbook Things Mother Used to Make A Collection of Old Time Recipes, Some Nearly One Hundred Years Old and Never Published Before

Here’s the recipe as it appears in the cookbook:

=Corn Meal Gems=

2 Cupfuls of Flour 1 Cupful of Corn Meal (bolted is best) 2 Cupfuls of Milk 2 Teaspoonfuls of Cream of Tartar 1 Teaspoonful of Baking Soda 1 Egg 1/2 Cupful of Sugar 1/2 Teaspoonful of Salt

Stir the flour and meal together, adding cream of tartar, soda, salt and sugar. Beat the egg, add the milk to it, and stir into the other ingredients. Bake in a gem-pan twenty minutes.

You may have questions.  Here are some possible answers:

 

In this context, gems are muffins.  A gem-pan is a muffin tin

Bolted Cornmeal that has been sifted or ground so fine that parts of the germ or bran are removed, and all the particles are fine and even in size. If you bought yours at the store, it’s probably bolted.

Here’s what I did (scroll down for the plain recipe for my version):

2014-10-10 12.58.49 I put the dry ingredients into the bowl:

2 Cupfuls of freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour

1 Cupful of Corn Meal (I put popcorn kernels in the grain mill)

2 Teaspoonfuls of Cream of Tartar

1 Teaspoonful of Baking Soda

1/2 Cupful of Sugar

1/2 Teaspoonful of Salt

I mixed this all together, and then I added 2 cups of milk into which I had beaten one egg.

I poured this into muffin tins I had lined with muffin wrappers and baked at 350 minutes.

2014-10-10 13.28.53

However, the muffins stuck to the paper too much, and I imagine they’d make cleaning your muffin tins a serious chore.

2014-10-10 13.39.24

So I added 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil to the remaining batter and poured it into another muffin tin, and baked for 20 minutes:

2014-10-10 13.39.32

2014-10-10 13.50.13

I could not tell a significant difference at first.  When they were still hot, there was a lot of muffin sticking to the paper.  However, when all the muffins had cooled, those to which I had added oil could be removed from their wrappers with less of the muffin sticking to the paper.

2014-10-10 13.50.19 I found them a little on the bland side. I prefer my cornbread less sweet, crunchier, with more texture. But the kids loved them- the grandbabies and some visiting children happily had them as snacks and with meals. These didn’t last long.

So here’s the recipe I’d use if I make them again:

2 Cupfuls of freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour

1 Cupful of Corn Meal (I put popcorn kernels in the grain mill)

2 Teaspoonfuls of Cream of Tartar

1 Teaspoonful of Baking Soda

1/2 Cupful of Sugar

1/2 Teaspoonful of Salt

I mixed this all together,

Melt 1 cup of butter, lard, or coconut oil.

Blend an egg and two cups of milk into the oil.  Then add liquid mixture to dry and stir well.

Line muffin tins with paper, or grease well.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into each cup.

Put in the oven and bake 20 minutes at 350.  Halfway through baking, rotate your tins, so the cups that were nearest the door are nearer the back of the oven, and if you have them on two different racks, switch racks as well.  This will help them brown more evenly.

Remove from oven and let them cool a bit before trying to remove the papers.

Serve plain with butter or with butter and  honey or fruit butter.

cornmeal gems with receipt

This entry was posted in cookery, frugalities, Uncategorized, vintage cookery and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

2 Comments

  1. Donna
    Posted October 13, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    FYI, if you have spray oil (like PAM) you can spray the papers first. Another way is to mix together equal parts oil, shortening and flour. This keeps in the fridge forever and you use a pastry brush to spread it on tins or pans. It is super great on bumpy pans, like a bundt pan or kid’s character cake pan, but I have used it on nasty muffin batter before and it does the trick.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted October 13, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      That’s cool. I never buy spray oil, but I think I’ll try the other mix.

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