I’m a jealous woman. The other day, my husband came home raving about a cornbread he had at a BBQ place. “It was so moist! There were bits of corn in it! It was a little sweet, but not too sweet!”
Well why don’t you marry this cornbread then???
I knew then that I’d have to make my own cornbread -- uber moist, bejeweled with corn, and a perfect balance of sweet and savory -- and give it a unique twist. A head-turning cornbread that leaves all other cornbreads in the dust.
Twist #1: Creamed corn instead of whole corn kernels. Creamed corn adds extra moisture and silkiness. Plus the corn kernels aren’t too big and jarring, they’re already soft and supple.
Twist #2: Corn nut streusel. I had a vision of a cornbread coffee cake. But what to put in the streusel? Nuts seemed out of place, but I wanted some crunch and depth. Enter corn nuts.
Twist #3: Candied Jalapeno. The cherry on top. The shaving of truffles. The nail in the coffins of all those other cornbreads (see: jealousy, above).
The husband pronounced it the best cornbread he’s ever had.
Makes one round 9” cornbread
adapted from The Kitchn
½ cup fine cornmeal
½ cup coarse cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
1 can of creamed corn (14.75 oz)
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
¼ cup corn nuts (I used Incan Corn for this, which are bigger, starchier corn kernels. Either work!)
3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and room temp
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or spray a 9” cast-iron skillet or pie plate.
To make the cornbread, mix cornmeals, flour, salt, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the honey, eggs, butter and creamed corn. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just incorporated.
To make the streusel, add all ingredients into the food processor and pulse until chunks form and everything is well incorporated.
Spread streusel on top of cornbread and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is firm and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
To make the candied jalapeno, add water and sugar to a saucepan and heat on medium-high, stirring occasionally. Slice jalapenos, removing seeds. When all the sugar is melted, add the jalapenos. Simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until the cornbread is done.
When the cornbread is done, remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes or longer. Strain the candied jalapenos and add to the top. Serve with leftover jalapeno syrup.
TIPS & TRICKS
The streusel and jalapenos make this a bit of a project, but the cornbread itself is super easy. You can do all the prep in 5 minutes.
I am a very messy cook, so I try to minimize messes whenever I see an opportunity. One trick -- instead of using multiple mixing bowls, just mix in your measuring cup. I add all my cup measurements first. Say that’s ¼ cup sugar and ½ cup milk. I’ll add the sugar first, then fill with milk to the ¾ cup mark. Then add all your non-cup measurements, like things measured in teaspoons or singular units (ex: eggs, juice of one lemon). Bingo! You were going to dirty the measuring cup anyway, but now you’ve saved yourself one bowl (at least).
If you don’t have time to cool your melted butter, no worries. Simply add colder ingredients first to temper the heat. Then add the eggs. If the butter is too hot, it will cook the eggs.
Keep the seeds in the jalapeno if you want to keep them hot!
You’ll most likely have extra jalapeno syrup. Save it! Once you strain it, it will keep in the refrigerator for 3 months. Use it for a limeade, smoothie, or cocktail. I’m partial to grapefruit juice, mezcal, and this jalapeno syrup. Muddle some cilantro in there if you’re feeling frisky.