In our “Old Recipe, New Dish” series, we ask a few of our favorite food bloggers, cookbook authors, and culinary up-and-comers to share a go-to holiday recipe that’s close to their hearts—and serve it up in a handcrafted piece of tableware made by an Etsy seller.
For self-taught home chef and award-winning food blogger Jessica Hylton-Leckie, creator of the vegetarian and vegan recipe repository Jessica in the Kitchen, at least half the fun of making food is sharing it with others, especially at the holidays. “Christmas is my favorite time of year, and food is such a big part of the holidays for me,” Jessica says. “I like that I get to spread that holiday cheer to everyone—regardless of their dietary restrictions.”
While Jessica feels great pleasure watching her loved ones gobble down the homemade entrees and sides she whips up for family gatherings, she gets nearly as much satisfaction from sharing her whole food-focused tips and techniques with the world at large. “When readers tell me how my recipes helped make their holiday tables memorable and delicious, it’s such an honor,” she says. Ready to try one for yourself? Read on.
About the recipe:
“I made these for the first time a few years ago when I was still experimenting with vegan baking, and I was blown away that they came out so perfectly moist,” Jessica says. “They were one of the first baked goods that showed me that vegan baking could be just as delicious as any other kind. I’ve been making them since my husband and I first got married—in fact, he was the one who suggested I put the jalapeño on top of each—and I’m now making them consistently. It’s the kind of dish that could fit into a holiday table spread or a great barbecue and still end up being one of the stars of the night.”
About the dish:
“When I’m choosing plates and props for my food photography, I love using items that are stunning on their own, but complementary to my dishes at the same time—like this dinner plate from Honeycomb Studio,” Jessica says. “The white ceramic beautifully showcases the muffins, and the gold detail really pops alongside them—I love that. Plus, gold is one of my favorite colors!”
Let’s get cooking:
Spicy Vegan Cornbread Muffins
You will need:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 1¼ cups fine grain cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour mix
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons cane sugar, coconut sugar, or organic brown sugar
- ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup melted vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 jalapeños, de-seeded and finely diced, plus slices for the tops
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or grease lightly with coconut oil or spray with baking spray. Set aside.
Step 2: Mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar together. Let sit for at least 3 minutes to create a vegan buttermilk.
Step 3: In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
Step 4: In a smaller bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together—first slowly, to incorporate, then a bit more quickly to mix fully.
Step 5: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined. Add in the diced jalapeños and mix gently.
Step 6: Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, distributing equally between all 12. Add a thin slice of jalapeño to the top of each and press down gently.
Step 7: Bake for 18–22 minutes. The muffins are done when they bounce back slightly to the touch. Serve immediately and enjoy.