These makki muffins or honey cornbread muffins with fennel seeds and walnuts are pretty much like taking a meethi makki ki roti and turning it into a muffin.
In other words, you get all the deliciousness of a meethi makki ki roti in portable form AND you can make 12 at a time. Um, hello? YES PLEASE!
So this is my first post after a long while, and those of you who are a part of my Instagram community know why and others don’t. This January we lost my older son, Saad, whom you know on the blog as “Beau,” after a long and brave battle with Leukemia.
Some of you have been asking how I’m doing after Saad’s passing. Honestly? There are days where I’ll wake up and I’ll be like “I’m fine. I’m finer than fine! Behold: Me, in all of my fineness!” and then about a half an hour later I’ll be making breakfast at the stove, crying into my younger son,”Kit’s” omlettes. And then I’ll just think about how much God must have loved me to have allowed me to preview this beautiful ornament of Paradise for a little while here on Earth, and I will feel well and truly blessed.
Grief is unpredictable, my friend.
So, when I got it in my head to develop this Makki Muffin recipe, I was a little nervous. Saad was always so involved with my blog (he was a large part of why I started it in the first place) and this was the first recipe I would conceive and develop after Saad’s passing. I was worried that grief might taint something that had always been a safe haven for me.
Alhamdulillah, that was not at all the case. I felt the same sense of contentment that I feel when I’m in the kitchen, making something for my family. The methodical nature of developing a new recipe, figuring out how to proportion the ingredients for optimal flavor always relaxes me. Saad was still (constantly) on my mind, but it wasn’t unpleasant at all—it was more like as if he was in the kitchen with me.
I got nervous again when I had to shoot it because Saad was always my little assistant—holding the reflector for me patiently even if the last time I said “Just one more shot, honey” was five shots ago. Photography had always been my mini escape from the world, especially when I was dealing with Saad’s diagnosis so I really, really didn’t want to lose that.
When I’m looking through the lens of my camera, it’s like the rest of the world just fades away. Like someone turned the volume down on all of the noise in my life. Getting that best shot of the day, even if I’m the only one who will ever see it, is a high that I simply can’t explain. And I’m so grateful to Allah SWT for giving me this gift.
And it truly was a gift from Allah this time as well—when I found that I needed someone to hold the reflector for me during the test shots, 5 1/2 year old “Kit” showed up out of no where.
“I’ll hold it for you Mama.”
And he patiently held it, just like his older brother always did.
For those of you thinking “Okay, so he held the reflector for you, big deal.” Listen, Kit standing still for more than five minutes is nothing less than a Divine favor. So I’m absolutely grateful for that!
The Chemistry of the Makki Muffin
So there’s a teeny tiny bit of chemistry involved in baking this Makki muffin, but nothing serious, I promise. Food chemistry is actually FUN and nothing like college Chem Lab. I don’t know about you guys, but I totally and completely sucked at Chem Lab.
I would look at the Lab Assignment and it’d say something like “and now your solution should look blue and transparent” and instead it would be yellow and opaque. I always, ALWAYS had to redo the experiment and I’d be the last kid out of the lab. Usually by then one of the instructors would take pity on me (or they just really wanted to go home, I dunno) and they’d help me recalculate everything. Ugh. I hated Chem Lab. This is why I’m not a doctor. Because of Chem Lab. Well, that, and the fact that I had no remote interest in medicine. But mainly because of Chem Lab.
So…where was I again? Oh yeah, not a lot of chemistry in these muffins.
You have to make sure that your ghee (or butter if you’re substituting) is melted but not hot and that the eggs and buttermilk (or sour milk if substituting) are at room temperature. This will keep the batter from curdling and help everything to bake evenly. Neglect to do this, and your muffins will come out looking all wonky (like my chem lab experiments!)
The other ingredients (walnuts and fennel seeds) are totally customizable – if you don’t like something, you can leave it out. The idea was to recreate the taste and feel of a meethi Makki ki Roti and I feel that these Makki muffins really do that.
Makki muffins are best served warm, immediately after taking out of the oven. You can eat them at room temp too, but the smell and taste of these when they’re fresh is just outta this world. Add a touch of butter on top when you’re eating and it’s sooooo good it should be illegal.
Makki Muffins Taste Great with…
These muffins are awesome for tea time, so pair it with my Best Loose Leaf Chai Tea.
If you’re having a tea party and want something savory to serve with it, this Chicken Pakora would be great. Marinate the chicken, then prepare the muffin batter. While the muffins are baking, you can fry the chicken pakora and have both dishes ready at around the same time.
Please give these muffins a try and let me know what you think. Was it true to the inspiration?
Honey Cornbread Muffins with Fennel Seeds and Walnuts (Makki Muffins)
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tbsp vinegar in 1 cup milk) room temperature
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1/4 cup ghee (or butter) melted but not hot
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- course sugar (optional) (as needed for sprinkling)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Place cupcake liners in a 12-cup muffin pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients—cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, fennel seeds.
In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together—buttermilk., eggs, ghee, honey.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until you no longer see any streaks of flour. Fold in the walnuts.
Distribute batter evenly into the cupcake liners. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Muffins are done when they spring back when lightly touched or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
1 – Walnuts and/or fennel seeds can be omitted if desired.
2 – Best served warm.
3 – Try putting a bit of butter on top just before eating, you’ll thank me later.