Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

This installment of the Barefoot Bloggers comes courtesy of Sabrina and Alexander of Cooking with the Kids, who have chose Ina’s Jalepeño Cheddar Cornbread, which is featured in the Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook. I was really excited to make this, as it came from a cookbook I already own, and cornbread sounded so good, even though it wasn’t fall and I wasn’t serving it with chili! This is only the second cornbread recipe I have made (the first was made last fall and came from Cook’s Illustrated), but I have to say, this was phenomenal. It produced a light and tender crumb, a slightly crisp crust, and the inclusion of the green onions gave it a nice zip, and really, you seriously can’t go wrong with adding cheddar to anything!

More talk about the cornbread, the recipe, and maybe another picture or two after the break.

I am prefacing this next statement with the fact that I was born and bred in the northeast and have never had a truly authentic Southern cornbread… but… I think this cornbread has earned the honor of my favorite cornbread. While the Cook’s Illustrated version is likely more authentic, I enjoyed the flavor of the onions and the cheesiness of this version. I also fully intended to be daring and use the jalapeno in this recipe (which I think would have been a great addition!), but then read that the hot peppers are now suspect in the salmonella outbreak, so I tossed my pepper and upped the amount of green onions that I used.

I cut this recipe in half and baked it in an 8×8 pan. Many people find it difficult to scale recipes when there is an odd number of eggs, as this tends to throw most into an all-out tizzy (I know, I’ve been there). What I find to be the best way to handle this is to crack the full amount of eggs into a measuring cup, beat slightly to break them up and mix the whites and yolks, and then simply use half the volume. In this case, my three large eggs amounted to about 5 ounces, so I poured 2.5 ounces into the recipe. Save the rest for scrambled eggs in the morning!

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Yield: 12 large pieces

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeño peppers

Directions:

1. Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.