Cheddar-Jalapeño Corn Bread
Cornmeal is sold in fine, medium and coarse grind, and any of these grinds can be used for this recipe. A medium grind will yield a lightly textured bread that still retains some bite. If you choose the more nutritious stone-ground cornmeal, which retains some of the hull and germ, your bread will be heavier and denser than if you use steel-ground cornmeal.
For the honey butter (optional):
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup honey
- Pinch of salt
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 jalapeño chili, seeded and finely chopped
To make the honey butter, in a bowl, using a large spoon, vigorously stir together the butter, honey and salt until blended smoothly. Transfer to a small bowl or to small individual ramekins and serve at room temperature. Or, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
To make the batter by hand, in a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and melted butter until blended. Add the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon just until evenly moistened. The batter will have some small lumps. Stir in half of the grated cheese and the chili.
To make the batter with an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat together the buttermilk, egg and melted butter on medium speed until blended. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat just until evenly moistened. The batter will have some small lumps. Stir in half of the grated cheese and the chili.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and evenly smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 16 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the corn bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Serve warm with the honey butter. The corn bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. To rewarm the corn bread, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and heat in a 300°F oven for about 10 minutes. Makes 1 loaf.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).