Sweet and Spicy Corn Bread
Jalapeño honey brings the perfect balance of sweetness and spice to our corn bread, which is baked in a cast-iron skillet for a nicely crisped crust. For an extra kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the honey mixture. Buttermilk in the batter helps ensure the bread is especially moist.
For the corn bread:
- 2 cups (14 oz./440 g) coarse-ground cornmeal
- 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) buttermilk
- 10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) (5 oz./155 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, lard or vegetable oil
For the jalapeño honey:
- 1/2 cup (6 oz./185 g) honey
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced crosswise
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
- Flaky sea salt
To make the corn bread, place a 10-inch (25-cm) cast-iron fry pan in an oven and preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, buttermilk and melted butter. Add the egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture and stir until combined.
Remove the pan from the oven and add the 1 Tbs. butter, swirling the pan until the butter is melted and coats the pan. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. The batter should immediately begin to sizzle around the edges. Bake until the corn bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the jalapeño honey: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey and butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the mixture is thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Bring to a gentle simmer, then add the jalapeños and cook, stirring occasionally, until they just begin to turn dark green and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if desired for a spicier dish. Remove from the heat.
Remove the pan from the oven. Pour the hot jalapeño honey over the corn bread and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Cut into slices and serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen