Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Cornbread Chronicles

Just in case you're having Christo's big cowboy chili  (or ribs or barbequed chicken) for Superbowl Sunday, don't forget to include some cornbread too.
 Actually, let me amend that statement. Fresh from the oven, smeared with some butter, this cornbread is so delicious all on its own. Top it with some fig jam and you could call it dessert.
This recipe, from Taste Of Home, turned out just the way I like - moist, with a tender crumb and full of corn flavor. My quest for some good cornbread took a few detours though, as I tried several recipes in the course of a week, trying to get it right.
The first one, which included chopped jalapeno peppers, was too dry and crumbly. I should have realized it when I was mixing it, since it was more like a crumb topping for a cake. I tossed it out to the birds. Fortunately, there was snow on the ground, so if they had parched throats after eating this, they could quench their thirsts. 
The second recipe (which also included jalapeno peppers, cheddar cheese and a can of creamed corn) was too wet and gooey, even though I kept it in the oven longer than called for. I threw it out to the squirrels - or who knows? Maybe that red fox that's shown up a couple of times in my yard lately ate it. In any event, it wasn't fit for human consumption. 
By now, I figured I'd better read a few more recipe reviews before baking cornbread. But what I did know was that I really didn't want jalapeno peppers in my cornbread. I wanted good old fashioned, plain cornbread.
So I read the critiques from home cooks following each cornbread recipe, until I found this one, where the praise was nearly unanimous. "This will now be my go-to recipe," one reviewer wrote. "Delicious. It always gets rave reviews," wrote someone else, echoing dozens of others.
So armed with kudos from dozens of bakers, I made this recipe, cutting back a little on the sugar, as some recommended.
 I didn't bake it in the 13 x 9 inch pan called for, but rather in a 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish. As a result, I increased the baking time by about 15-20 minutes. Bake it in muffin tins for a different way of serving it - or in a cast iron skillet. Just be sure to adjust the baking time accordingly.
It's a simple recipe, but really is a winner, and like the other reviewers, it will be my go-to recipe for cornbread from now on.
I'm afraid the birds and squirrels in my back yard will have to be content with stale bread -- or wait for another kitchen failure at some point in the future.

Buttery Cornbread
printable recipe here

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar (I used 2/3 cup and it was plenty)
3 eggs
1 2/3 cups 2 percent milk
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine eggs and milk. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking power and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with egg mixture.
Pour into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cut into squares. serve warm. Yield: 15 servings.
Note: I used a square 8 x 8 inch baking pan and baked it for 40-45 minutes.

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Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautifully fluffy and extremely tempting



Chiara Giglio said...

è una ricetta nuova per me,non ho mai assaggiato il cornbread, deve essere buono !

black eyed susans kitchen said...

I'll be trying this recipe...4 1/2 tsps if baking powder?

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Susan - Yes, that's right. It seems like a lot, but I followed the recipe and it works out perfectly.

Jerse said...

This cornbread looks so moist and fluffy. Yum!

Stacey Snacks said...

I can remedy all of this.....I just buy a box of JIFFY cornbread and add some roasted red peppers to the mix!
It truly is delicious!

Claudia said...

My cornbread humiliation was when I tossed the combo of dry and undercooked cornbread to the birds and they refused to eat it. Never made cornbread again. That may change with your recipe...

AdriBarr said...

Pretty funny about the birds being able to quench their thirst with the snow. Good one, Ciao Chow. Bart is just wild about cornbread, so I will have to give this one a go. Taste of Home is such a terrific source. A dear friend of mine, a woman I met at culinary school back in the eighties, is one of their food editors, and I can personally attest to their rigorous testing regimen. It comes as no surprise to me that their cornbread is a winner. Bart will thank you for this one. I hope you enjoy the Super bowl. It sounds like our guests will be very well fed indeed.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Baking is an adventure here in my high altitude of over 6,000 feet, so the rabbits, birds and deer in my yard also sometimes get baking disasters thrown their way! LOL!

This recipe calls for a lot of flour and baking powder, so I can see how it gets the light and fluffy texture. It does look like cake! My usual recipe is a little denser, but I'd love to try this one someday. I like "Taste of Home" recipes--they are like a good community cookbook full of everyone's favorite meals.

Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

That is my hubby's usual complaint about cornbread is that it is too dry. I do have several recipes that are good -- but this one sounds excellent. My recipes have too much fat in them. I have to chuckle about your experiments, though. I'm planning on telling the story of my Poulan bread experiment on All Our Way -- it's hysterical. Grazie for the the trouble you went to for your followers :-) I'm sure the critters around your house appreciate it too.

mimi rippee said...

Nice! Great looking cornbread. I'm so glad you made it from scratch. so many people where i live make it from a package, but it's so easy! And tastier from scratch. Plus, you can add goodies to it. I've added chipotles and that's to die for, if you love chipotles!

Proud Italian Cook said...

You have some well fed critters that I'm sure will keep coming back, dry or not. I like how you reduced the sugar, I don't think you needed that much either because my goal is to slather it all with fig jam. That's dessert in my house!

Roz Corieri Paige said...

So true Linda! What is a bowl of chili if there isn't some hot, delicious cornbread like yours to eat? We just made pasta the other day and it turned out to be cornmeal and not semolina flour! LOL! One big huge hard as a rock piece of cornbread! One of those kitchen blunders! Enjoy yours with chili today! Roz

Carolyn said...

My family loves sweet cornbread and I used to make a version that called for the addition of yellow cake mix to the cornmeal. Now that our kids have flown the coop, it's way too much for me and my husband. When I saw your recipe, I knew I had to make it. Just fabulous and so much better than adding boxed cake mix. We had it on Super Bowl Sunday with a black bean - chorizo bake and Mexican chicken. So yummy. Thank you for sharing. And my son says so, too, since I sent a care package over to his house.