All-Purpose Cornbread – From The Science of Good Cooking, by Cook’s Illustrated. This book is both fun to read and to cook recipes from, especially if you are a science geek. Cornbread, like banana breads and muffins, are “quickbreads.” Quickbreads rely on leaveners like baking powder and baking soda to rise, as opposed to breads baked with yeast which rely on slow fermentation. According to the Cook’s Illustrated test kitchen folks, the key to a tender, cakey texture in quickbreads is gluten minimization. And the trick to gluten minimization is a quick and minimal folding (not stirring!) the dry ingredients with the wet.
Another secret to tasty cornbread they reveal in this cookbook is no secret to Locavorious eaters – to have cornbread bursting with sweet corn flavor – use some real sweet corn!
They call this recipe “All-Purpose Cornbread”, however, I would call it the ultimate creamy dreamy cornbread. It’s a wonderful use of any leftover sweet corn.
- 1 ½ cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (5 ounces) cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup packed (1 ¾ ounces) light brown sugar
- ¾ cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Whisk flour cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until combined; set aside.
In a food processor or blender, process brown sugar, corn kernels, and buttermilk until combined, about 5 seconds. Add eggs and process until well combined (corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.
Using rubber spatula, make well in center of dry ingredients; pour wet ingredients into well. Begin folding dry ingredients into wet, giving mixture only a few turns to barley combine. Add melted butter and continue folding until dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and smooth surface with rubber spatula.
Bake until cornbread is deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack and turn right side up. Let cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer, before serving. (Leftover cornbread can be wrapped in aluminum foil and reheated in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.)