In Chicago’s quiet western suburb of Oak Brook the historic Graue Mill grinds corn into some of the most flavorful stone-ground cornmeal. Their cornmeal with a few modifications to the mill’s recipe is what I use to make muffins, corn sticks and corn bread. The cornmeal is stone-ground which means it’s a bit grainier and a little naturally sweeter than most store bought cornmeal. This stone-ground cornmeal bakes up with an unbelievably flavorful texture delighting all your taste senses and is an abundantly delicious addition to a meal of soup or stew. For over 40 years I’ve used this cornmeal in my own kitchen and we used it exclusively at the Pickwick Tearoom for corn muffins, always with huge compliments from our customers.
Graue Mill was originally listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the year my husband and I were married. When dating, we often hiked and picnicked in the forest preserve area surrounding the mill and it was while walking around the beautiful trails near Graue Mill that Chris asked me to marry him and I said yes. This mill will always hold a special place in our lives and I cannot make corn muffins without thinking about this grist mill and the surrounding wooded area owned by the DuPage County Forest Preserve District. For more information about the mill, its hours or how to get this amazingly delicious corn meal, contact them through their website, or on their Facebook page. If you get the chance, please consider visiting this amazing mill and museum, walk the surrounding trails, picnic along side the Salt Creek, or just bask in the beauty of this idyllic park.
CORN BREAD – CORN MUFFINS – CORN STICKS
1 cup milk
1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Pre-heat oven to 425F. Line muffin tins with paper liners or lightly grease and flour muffin tins and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together, stir in cornmeal and set aside.
In another mixing bowl, lightly beat egg then mix with milk
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients stirring by hand just enough to incorporate all the dry ingredients. Then gently stir in melted butter just till incorporated.
Using a scoop, fill muffin tins ¾ full and bake in prepared pan in 425F oven for about 20 to 24 minutes or till toothpick tests clean.
To make corn sticks: while preheating oven, put corn stick pan in oven to pre-heat also. This is very important to remove corn sticks from the pan. Spray hot corn stick pan with cooking spray and working quickly fill ¾ full using a small scoop or spoon. Bake about 15 – 17 minutes or till toothpick inserted in corn stick tests clean. My pan makes 8 corn sticks at a time and the recipe makes about 10 to 12 corn sticks so I have to gently remove the hot cooked corn sticks, spray the pan again while still hot and refill then bake this second batch. Sometimes the first batch of corn sticks are gone before the second batch gets finished; it just depends on whose at home when they come out of the oven.
To make Corn Bread: prepare an 8” square pan by lightly greasing and dusting with flour. Pour cornbread mixture into prepared pan, bake at 425F for 23-25 minutes then cut into squares.
NOTE: I love cornbread when it’s hot out of the oven. There’s nothing quite like it. For me it truly is comfort food. So much so that last spring I got my grandson a T-shirt from the Junk Gypsies in Round Top Texas that reads: “Save the Planet – It’s the only one with corn bread”.
Words to live by don’t you think?