More Football Baking

26 10 2010

It’s getting to be a bit of a thing, this football-watching.  I’ve really taken to baking or cooking up something delicious to share with my friends on Sunday, and it’s really nice to have something fun to look forward to on Sunday night – a nice cap to the weekend that lets you forget about Monday morning for a few more hours.

Gotta love the muffin method!

Two Sundays ago, Melissa was hosting, and she wanted to make a big pot of chili.  She requested that I whip up some cornbread to go along with it, and of course I was game.  But I didn’t want to stop at just plain old cornbread.

Jalapeño and cheddar make everything better!

No, only the best in home-pickled and hand-imported ingredients will do.  That is to say, I found a half-full jar of pickled peppers lurking in the fridge, and the Baby Loaf of Tillamook cheddar needed to be put to good use, because moldy Tillamook is not an option in my house.

Cornbread is really one of the easiest and tastiest all-American sides around, and fortunately, it’s a dish whose ingredients are generally pretty easy to come by in Paris, especially if you live near some kind of ethnic market.  On this particular go-around, I ran out of medium-grind cornmeal and had to sub in some extra coarse stuff I had lying around.  But you know what?  The crunchy bits went over very well.  So well, in fact, that I just pretended it had been part of the plan all along.

Because my recipe uses a good amount of butter, I got to use one of my very favorite kitchen tricks when I was preparing my baking dish: the leftover butter paper is ideal for greasing!

greasing the pan...

I love this for several reasons.  One, it’s economical – the butter clinging to the paper was just going to get tossed anyway, plus you don’t have to waste a paper towel.  Secondly, greasing the pan was always one of my least favorite parts about baking when I was a kid.  It was messy, I always ended up with too much butter in lumps and it wouldn’t smear evenly, and then my fingers were all greasy and I had to wash my hands.  With the nifty butter paper trick, my fingers stay clean and since there’s only a whisper of butter on there the heat from my hands is enough to melt it and it goes on smoothly and evenly.  Hooray!

But back to the cornbread.  I learned something while baking it.  (Or if you want to be more specific, I was reminded of something I should have been less nonchalant (more chalant, then?) about.)  And that thing is as follows:

When your baking vessel is filled to the brim with a chemically-leavened quickbread batter, like this:

Too much batter

It will most likely end up doing something like this:

Mess!

And then you’ll have to clean the oven.

I really should have known better, and put some of the batter in a second pan, and in the recipe I’ve written below I’ve indicated a bigger pan, but sometimes you’re just so excited about the spicy, cheesy, buttery, down-home goodness of cornbread and football that you forget these things.  And that’s why I’m here to help.

Jalapeño-Cheddar Cornbread

I like the texture contrast that comes from using some very coarsely ground cornmeal, but if that doesn’t appeal to you, feel free to use all medium-ground cornmeal. The amount of peppers could easily be increased, maybe even doubled, for real spice lovers. This makes a pretty big batch, good for feeding a crowd, but halving the recipe and baking it in a smaller 8” / 20cm square dish works fine, and it bakes in less time, too! (Start checking at about 25 minutes.)

3 c. / 15.25 oz. / 435 g all-purpose flour
2 c. / 13.5 oz. / 380 g cornmeal, half medium and half very coarse, if you’re so inclined
4 tsp. / 0.6 oz. / 18 g baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
½ tsp. / 0.1 oz / 3 g baking soda
1½ tsp. / 0.3 oz. / 10 g fine sea salt
½ c. / 4.4 oz. / 125 g brown sugar (packed if you’re using volume measurements)
1½ c. / 10 oz. / 285 g corn, cut from the cob, canned and drained, or frozen and thawed
2 c. / 450 ml buttermilk
4 large eggs
2 sticks / 8 oz. / 225 g butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 c. / 3.2 oz. / 90 g chopped pickled jalapeños
2 c. / 8 oz. / 225 g cheddar cheese cut into small cubes

  1. Preheat the oven to 395 F / 200 C. Grease a 13-by-9” / 33-by-23 cm or equivalent baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeals, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Blend together the brown sugar, corn, and buttermilk. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth. Blend in the eggs.
  4. Pour the blended wet ingredients and the butter into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. When the batter is moistened, fold in the jalapeños and cheddar.
  5. Spread the batter evenly in the baking dish and bake until puffed and golden brown on top, 45-55 minutes.
  6. Cool, cut, and serve.

Serves about 15 people as an accompaniment to chili, soup, BBQ…

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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12 responses

26 10 2010
Nanan

I just did not see the last photo in the oven coming – I actually gasped and put my hand over my mouth and said OH my God out loud! Bless your heart! So, that reminds why I always put my cornbread on a sheetpan to bake… I bet it tasted just fabulous! Tillamook is the best cheddar!

27 10 2010
Hannah

Oh my heavens, are there people out there who don’t use the butter paper to grease? Don’t tell me people throw it away without using it! (I, too, always hated greasing the pan. Generally it was a trade-off with mum: if I greased the pan, I could lick the bowl at the end ;) )

I. Am. So. In. Love. With. Cornbread. I’ve yet to make one that fits my ideal, though, so might have to try yours soon!

27 10 2010
Ann

Jalapenos? Cheese? Butter? This looks like the ultimate in cornbread. Would you recommend it with a bit of bacon, too? Beautiful, Camille! Hope the oven wasn’t too messy.

27 10 2010
hungry dog

Oh no! That photo of the cornbread volcano really made me laugh though. I have done things like that before and I always think, I KNEW this would happen. Or: I SHOULD have known. I too love the butter wrapper method…I hate greasing pans but it’s so often necessary. The cornbread sounds amazing. Any recipe that contains buttermilk and cheddar cheese is a guaranteed winner in my book. Happy football season! (It’s World Series insanity here in San Francisco…)

27 10 2010
croquecamille

Nanan – It was, especially, the extra-browned bits on the sides of the pan. :)

Hannah – I hope you do! And I hope even more that it fits your ideal, although if “vegan” is part of it I’m afraid I’ve failed. :)

Ann – Bacon would be an excellent addition! I considered it, actually (great minds…), but decided against it because I knew there was going to be at least one vegetarian there and I wanted there to be something for her to eat!

hungry dog – I laughed too. Fortunately, the cleanup wasn’t too bad. Go Giants!

27 10 2010
Hannah

Don’t you worry – it’ll be a long time before I give up things like quality cheese, salted caramel, or reese’s peanut butter cups :D

29 10 2010
Grapefruit

Of course, how can one come here & expect to find a recipe for ‘plain old’ anything! ;-)
The cornbread sounds wonderful (I think I can even smell it all the way here) & I agree that the butter wrapper method is the best!

29 10 2010
croquecamille

Hannah – Glad to hear it.

Grapefruit – You’re so sweet!

30 10 2010
Anne

But where did you find the Tillamook cheddar?!

1 11 2010
croquecamille

Anne – Nick’s mom brought it over when she came to visit. It’s on the short list of things we ask for when friends and family come over from the States. :)

18 12 2010
Melissa

hmm, the fact that i’m just getting to this indicates that i need to update my blog. i think i’m almost there. although currently, i’m drooling over memories of this cornbread… thanks!

18 12 2010
croquecamille

Melissa – Anytime!




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