Eggless corn muffin recipe from my Great-grandma Stephens’s cookbook

I inherited three things from Grandma: two cast iron skillets, and her mother’s cookbook.  This morning, I made the eggless corn muffins.

Eggless Corn Muffins

  • 1 1/8 cup flour
  • 1 1/8 cups yellow corn meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sour milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted shorting.

Sift dry ingredients, add milk, and shortening. Beat thoroughly. Fill greased muffin rings half full and cook on a hot griddle.

Time in cooking, 25 minutes. Servings, 14.


Now, having no muffin rings, I cooked these in muffin tins. It was early and I was too drowsy to read about muffin rings, which I hadn’t encountered before. Now, I suspect I did the muffins a diservice. The flavour was lovely and light. The texture was a little tough. For muffins… But for English muffins, it would have been perfect with the lovely crispness that the outer edges hinted at.

Next time, I’m going to try muffin rings and a griddle.

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9 thoughts on “Eggless corn muffin recipe from my Great-grandma Stephens’s cookbook”

  1. HI Mary Robinette!
    I have my mother’s cookbook that was a gift to her from her father when she was a young girl — it’s probably the same vintage as your book. Some of the recipes are fun, some are hideous — but it’s just nice to have that connection to the past, isn’t it?

  2. So much fun. I especially love that this inherited, multi-generational cookbook is titled as “modern.” Am I correct in guessing that sour milk is butter milk?

    1. You can use buttermilk or you can throw a teaspoon of vinegar in a cup of milk and let it sour (a few minutes) and use it that way.

      1. It’s actually not buttermilk.

        In the days before refrigeration, unpasteurized milk would sour when it was left out. You can get a similar effect by adding acid, like lemon juice or vinegar, but it’s not the same thing.

        1. Did you sour some milk, or leave some out to do it naturally?

          I love the splatters on the page. You always know which recipes are the best by how messy the page is.

  3. I never thought of English (or any) muffins being cooked in rings on a griddle. Silly of me, since I spent a few years at MCDonald’s, cooking eggs in rings for their breakfast sandwiches.

    My favorite recipe is my grandmother’s banana bread recipe card- in her handwriting, and with several generations of sticky fingerprints.

  4. Paul (@princejvstin)

    I’m forwarding this to my friend Kris, who collects old recipes and tries them out. Thanks Mary!

  5. As I understand it, tuna cans that have been opened on both ends and thoroughly scrubbed make serviceable muffin rings.

    I have my grandmother’s cornbread recipe, which is markedly different from yours. I’m going to go out on a limb and say yours is Yankee, because it has all the hallmarks I’ve been taught (yellow cornmeal, sugar, wheat flour). My grandmother’s is Southern and uses white cornmeal and neither flour nor sugar, making it a rougher texture and more savory. Ideally it should be made in a cast-iron cornstick pan (which makes “muffins” shaped like ears of corn. I have such a pan, but it’s been poorly maintained so I have to scrub and reseason it.

    I like both Southern and Yankee cornbread, I hasten to note. They’re different, not “right” and “wrong.”

    1. This wasn’t grandma’s regular recipe, which she did without looking and into cast iron.

      As for the hallmarks you’ve been taught… Those are distinctly regional, I think. My family has been in the South since the late 1600s and cornbread uses yellow cornmeal. Some parts of the south use sugar, some don’t. Flour vs. no flour as well.

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