We could all use a little more broccoli on our plates, right? Now, the vegetable is wonderful just on its own - or wonderful with a little lemon and butter - but the more places I can sneak in broccoli, the better! This isn't the first thing I've snuck into a cornbread.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and bring a pot of water to boil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of buttermilk, 3 tablespoons of melted and cooled butter, 3 tablespoons of canola oil, and 2 large eggs until well blended. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour,1 cup of course-ground yellow cornmeal, 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and combine fully, then fold in 1 cup of shredded gouda. It is important to always go from wet to dry to avoid overworking your flour and making lumps. The other way can result in a rubbery dough, and unless you are making chew toys, we just don't want that!
The water should be boiling now. Add 12 broccoli florets and blanch them for just a minute, until they turn bright green. Quickly strain them and transfer them to the ice bath. Once the florets have completely cooled, strain them and let 'em dry.
Put a heaping tablespoonful of cornbread batter in the bottom of each muffin case, then give the pan a good shake to spread the batter evenly in the bottoms of the cases.
Place a single floret in each muffin case, upright. Top the florets with batter, dividing it evenly between the cases. Top with even more Gouda cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and the cheese is melted and somewhat crispy. An inserted toothpick into the center of one muffin should come out clean when they are finished baking.
Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring the muffins to a cooling rack.
How amazing do these look cut open? Enjoy!