Saturday's Supper - Northern Cornbread

This week's Saturday's Supper is something different. I know I've done a lot of crock pot goodness lately but this week I made a great cornbread so I wanted to share the recipe. Enjoy!

Northern Cornbread
by The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Don't use stone-ground whole grain cornmeal here; it will yield a drier and less tender cornbread. When corn is in season, fresh cooked kernels can be substituted for the frozen corn.

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/4 cup packed (1 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Adjusted an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan.

2. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl until combined. Process the buttermilk, thawed corn kernels, and brown sugar in a food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the eggs and continue to process until well combined (some corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.

3. Fold the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula. Fold in the melted butter until just incorporated (do not overmix).

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

5. Let the cornbread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Test Kitchen Tip: Double Corn Flavor
In order to get serious corn flavor into our Northern cornbread without making the texture crumbly and more like a rustic Southern-style cornbread, we found we needed to add real corn kernels to the batter (for flavor). To prevent the corn kernels from tasting overly gummy and tough in the bread, it is important to puree them in a food processor with the liquid ingredients.


* I don't own a food processor so I used my immersion blender and it worked just fine.
* I actually like the bits of corn in my cornbread so I blended the amount noted in the recipe then just dumped the rest of the can in when I was folding in the butter. I think using canned corn was a good choice because I totally know what they mean by gummy and tough kernels in the Test Kitchen Tip. Using canned corn turned out just fine.
* I baked mine at 375 instead of 400. Seriously I'm paranoid about baking anything at that high of heat. It just seems like an inferno in my oven. I cooked at 375 for 12 minutes, rotated it half way and cooked another 12 minutes. At that point it was actually almost done. Another 5 minutes and it came out perfect.
* This recipe could be great with green chili's, jalapenos, cheddar cheese or other fun mix ins. I liked that the texture wasn't too cakey or crumbly. It turned out nice and moist.
* I almost never have buttermilk on hand so I use the substitution for 1 cup of milk and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice mixed in. You just mix the two together and let sit for 10 minutes. It doesn't have that strong buttermilk flavor but it works in a pinch. You can also use 1 Tbsp of vinegar too.

Test Kitchen Note: Southern vs. Northern Cornbreads
A typical Southern cornbread contains more cornmeal than flour and no sweetener at all, and it is cooked in a skillet to make sure the exterior is browned and crisp. The texture is crumbly, making this thin cornbread an ideal partner to saucy dishes. In contrast, a typical Northern cornbread is made with more flour than cornmeal and a fair amount of sweetener. Because it is cooked in a baking pan, the exterior is very pale. The texture is cakey, making this thick cornbread ideal for breakfast or a snack.

Do you prefer one type of cornbread over another? I enjoy one like this recipe so I must like Northern cornbread. Do you like stuff mixed in your cornbread or do you prefer a more plain style.


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