Recipe: Cheddar and Leek Muffins

Last night, our daughter's school held a lantern walk. To the uninitiated, that means dozens of two, three, and four-year-olds singing and walking with lit candles in an otherwise dark and chilly community garden in the East Village. Believe me; it's beautiful, and no one gets hurt.

To take the edge off the rather extreme conditions, each family was asked to bring a dozen muffins. Muffins at 6 pm? Not exactly part of our preschooler's usual evening routine, so for my dozen, I reached for some savory ingredients.

I choose a cornbread base, and amped it up with buttermilk and sharp Dubliner cheddar cheese. The leeks added a pungent kick amidst all the soft, pillowy muffin goodness. With a touch of honey for sweetness, balanced with a few healthy pinches of salt, the kids went for it, and I didn't feel like I was spoiling anyone's supper.

Leftovers? We had them with dinner, served as a side mop to our juicy braised pork, satisfying preschoolers and adults alike.

Cheddar and Leek Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup corn flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
7 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, divided
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking papers or 5-inch squares of parchment.

Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, buttermilk, 5 tablespoons of the melted butter, and honey.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and incorporate the wet ingredients. Stir until smooth. Stir in the cheese and 1 cup leeks.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, filling each about three quarters full. Top each muffin with a few of the remaining leek rings and a spoonful of the remaining melted butter.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until tops just begin to brown.

More Muffin Recipes from The Kitchn
Quick and Homey Oatmeal Raisin Muffins
Hearty & Healthy Apple Muffins
Zucchini Muffins from Simply Recipes
Weight-Watchers Glazed Pear Muffins
Mini Blueberry Lemon Muffins
Double Chocolate Butterscotch Breakfast Muffins

(Images: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)