Prep 40 mins
Cook 30 mins
This is a moist cornbread which you can customize to your own taste. My Gramma used to make this, and she was pretty free-wheeling with the additions - chopped up leftover bacon or breakfast sausage was not unusual to find in it, and left over corn from Grampa's garden, cut off the cob, was a frequent addition. My husband LOVES hot stuff, while I can't figure out why anyone would conceivably want their mouth to feel like angry wasps have swarmed to attack - I even swell up! When I make this just for him, I substitute Jalepeno for the red bell pepper, and sometimes I will substitute sautéed, cooled and drained chopped onion for the scallions, but it comes out perfectly every time. The 'secret step' which makes this cornbread so moist is to allow the batter to rest, so don't try to save time and skip it. This is a great make-ahead for taking along to a picnic, party, or friend's house for a participation dinner.
- 3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar (can substitute brown, if you prefer)
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 large eggs, broken with a fork and lightly scrambled with 2 tablespoons of sour cream
- 1 cup salted butter, melted and then allowed to stand for a few minutes and stirred again to suspend the milk solids
- 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, 'extra sharp' if you can get it, grated
- 1⁄2 cup red bell pepper, cleaned of seeds and membrane and chopped into little bits (or, ick - 4 Tbslp. red Jalepeno)
- 1⁄2 cup of thinly sliced scallion, particularly the green parts of the stalk. If your scallion is not impeccably fresh, only use the pa (green onion)
- Prep the ingredients first and have them standing ready in bowls.
- In a large workbowl, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In the pan you melted the butter in, add the milk, sour cream and eggs, and beat with a fork to combine all and suspend the butter as well as possible.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and fold them together just enough to get most of the lumps out. Don't overmix this, or the bread will develop gluten strands and become tough - you want tender. Add 2 cups of the grated cheddar, most of the scallions (reserve a few tablespoons for later) and the red bell pepper and mix briefly to combine all.
- Cover with a damp towel, set your oven to 350 f., set your timer for half an hour and walk away - go do something else.
- Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13 cake pan and level it out to fill the corners (If I am taking this somewhere, I like to line the pan with foil in both directions so that I can cool it and simply lift it out of the pan without difficulty; fold foil in the long direction so that you can lay it precisely into the pan so that it fits the shape of the pan's angles and hangs over the edge by several inches on each side, then do the same with the sideways direction with a separate piece of foil, and butter or grease the foil).
- Scatter the remaining cheddar and scallion over the top and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Insert a toothpick in the center to determine if it's done; when inserted into the center, it should come out clean. The top should be lightly browned, and the kitchen should smell very good indeed!
- Cut into 3" pieces for serving. That doesn't mean it will serve 12, though - I've seen 3 people completely inhale one batch in under 5 minutes.