Corn bread is a wonderful accompaniment to a great bowl of Chili. Southerners have known this for years. This recipe is from the Joy of Cooking cookbook and is the absolute best I have tried, and believe me, I think I have tried hundreds, well, maybe not hundreds, but an awful lot. I think the secret is in the proportions of cornmeal to flour, as well as, heating the pan before filling. This recipe is quick and easy and so good, you will never use the quick packaged stuff again.
Truly good cornbread has a rich brown crust and a light but gritty bite. Use stone-ground cornmeal for the best results. A heavy cast iron pan is best but I usually use a metal pan.
Eating a piece of warm cornbread just out of the oven with melting butter on it is just heaven. I hope you enjoy this as much as we have.
All you need to do:
Have all the ingredients at about 70 degrees (about room temperature).
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 9 pan with butter, margarine, oil or bacon drippings (I use butter or margarine) and place it in the oven until very hot.
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups yellow or white stone-ground cornmeal
Beat in a separate bowl:
Beat into the egg:
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup milk or buttermilk
Combine all ingredients with a few rapid strokes. Place the batter in the hot pan. Bake corn bread for 20-25 minutes (until golden brown). Serve immediately.
For some variety you can add some minced onion, shredded cheddar cheese, cream style corn or bits of cooked ham or bacon to the batter.
When making this as a side to Chili, I stick to the original recipe. I try not to add more flavors to complicate the meal.
This recipe can also make about 15 2-inch muffins, reduce baking time to 15 minutes.
For leftover corn bread (basic recipe), if there is any, I cut a piece in half (through the inside) and butter each half. I then place butter side down on a hot griddle and grill it until it’s toasted…it’s delicious breakfast. It’s good with jam or just as is. I became addicted to grilled corn muffins in college. Yummmmm!
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