Cornbread is one of those things where I am convinced there must be a Yankee somewhere in my bloodline (similar to the way my general indifference to sweet tea does). Cornbread in the south is savory, and often cooked in a cast iron skillet. There is cornbread with bacon, and cornbread with jalepeños, and cornbread with cheese, none of which I prefer over some sweet corn bread, which is generally the way it is known up north. But before we get too divided by the Mason-Dixon line, let me just say that one of my favorite Southern home cooking restaurants, Pannie George’s in Auburn, Alabama (go get a plate of fried chicken and macaroni and cheese and cornbread…and then you can go on a run later) serves their cornbread with a hint of sweetness to it. I always wanted to ask them for the recipe (along with the secret to their mac and cheese).
And then I found Ina Garten’s recipe, complete with a cup of sugar. I know I keep turning to Ina for my Southern cooking recipes, and it kind of feels like a cop out, but really I am just convinced that she knows how to make all food good. Even with the cup of sugar and all the butter and milk, these corn muffins feel light and delicious. I think they could be added to any meal of the day, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can go next to your bacon. They can sop up your soup. They are delicate and sweet, but savory enough for any meal. I just think they are perfect. And I think I might have convinced my very Southern family, too.
adapted from Ina Garten
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Makes about 18 muffins*
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup medium cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups milk**
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
3. In a separate bowl (or a large measuring cup) combine milk, melted and cooled butter, and eggs.
4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring (or mixing with mixer on lowest speed) just until they are combined.
5. Spoon batter into the paper muffin liners (an ice cream scoop is useful here), filling up each liner close to the top, a little more than 3/4 of the way full.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow them to cool slightly and then remove them from the pan.
*Ina claims that this recipe makes 12 muffins, but she fills her muffin tins all the way to the top and really I think these muffins are a little too big. So I think you can definitely stretch the recipe to make more.
**Ina’s recipe calls for whole milk, but I’ve used the 1% milk that I have many times and it always works perfectly fine.