Cornbread. While I’ll admit, not the most glamorous or exciting thing to post about, it’s nevertheless absolutely necessary for everyone to have a great go-to cornbread recipe. And, similarly, Chili January would be completely bereft without a classic cornbread recipe to round things out.
So, here it is. My go-to, basic cornbread. Interestingly, over the past year this has replaced my previous go-to cornbread recipe which I used religiously for years. Someday, I will share it with you, in case you are ever hankering for a soft, sweet, buttery, almost cake-like Northern style cornbread.
But, while I love my older recipe to pieces, I was looking for something with less sugar, with more pure corn flavor, a crunchier crust, and a heartier texture. Basically, (and despite the fact that I love sweetness to a fault) I actually didn’t want to feel like I was guiltily eating corn cake with my chili (slathered with dabs of melty butter, no less), but rather, a hearty and substantial slab of cornbread that could stand up to the robust flavors of chili.
The thing I love about this recipe and which is unique compared to most cornbread recipes, is the addition of pureed corn kernels. As a result, this cornbread is more, well… corny. As in, more intensely corn flavored… just in case you thought I meant ‘hokey’. So, in addition to pure corn flavor, the addition of pureed corn kernels keeps the bread moist, and adds just a touch of natural sweetness to this recipe, which is otherwise relatively low sugar. The crust bakes up with a nice golden crunch for texture, and the interior has a hearty but tender crumb.
Now, as I’m sure you know, people seem to have a strong attachment to their regional style of cornbread. And my Southern hubs, who insists that real cornbread absolutely must be made without sugar, with bacon grease, and baked in a cast iron skillet, still claims this recipe just doesn’t qualify. But, I’m a Northern girl at heart with a sweet tooth, and thus I sought a recipe that would meet somewhere in the middle.
So, here it is… my version of North meets South (aka Northern girl marries Southern boy) cornbread.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- ¾ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 8 inch square baking dish with non-stick coating; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and baking soda; set aside.
- Process the buttermilk, thawed corn kernels, and brown sugar in a food processor for about 5 seconds, or until combined. Add the eggs and process until combined, about 5 seconds. There will still be lumps of corn remaining.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold the ingredients a few times to barely combine (there should still be some pockets of dry flour); add the melted butter and continue folding a few more times, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the surface.
- Bake at 400 degrees until the edges are deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Recipe slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook 2001-2014.