Mini Corn Loaves with Cranberries & Pecans

Ingredients: 
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 whole egg
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Ingredients for Maple Butter:
1 stick softened butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Extra maple syrup and melted butter, for brushing
 
Directions:
1.        Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.       Combine corn meal, flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
3.       In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, milk, egg, and baking soda. Stir to combine. Add melted shortening, stirring constantly. Add vanilla extract, then stir in dried cranberries (you can use a little more or a little fewer if you’d like) and pecans.
4.        Pour into a greased mini-loaf, mini-muffin, or muffin pan, trying to make sure cranberries stay evenly distributed. Bake for 12-15 minutes or so, or until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes after removing from the oven, then turn out of the pan and allow to cool.
5.       Mix together a little melted butter and maple syrup, then brush it over the tops of the loaves.
To make the maple butter, combine the softened butter and maple syrup. Stir until totally combined, then spread into a ramekin, drizzle the top with maple syrup, and serve with the warm muffins. (Butter can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.)
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