I’ve honestly never been a big fan of cornbread. It’s usually got the texture of gritty sand and it can be so sweet it tastes more like dessert. I guess it’s normally a vehicle for soaking up chile or soup, which explains the texture, but I wanted to make cornbread that was moist, not cloyingly sweet, and tasty on its own.
I took to Facebook to ask my friends for suggestions. Love the power of social networking-within an hour I had 12 replies with advice and recipes to inspire me. Three people sent a version of the same recipe, made with creamed corn and sour cream (no one noted the original source so apologies if it came from your own great grandmother). I’ll bake with sour cream any day. Like buttermilk, it’s acidity keeps baked goods moist while imparting just the right amount of tang. It was the canned creamed corn that gave me pause. I knew I’d draw the line at starting with a packaged mix but would I use canned corn? Truth be told, I loved creamed corn as a kid (and I have a killer chipotle version in my New Flavors for Vegetables Book). I gave it a shot, finding a canned version with only corn, corn starch, and sugar in it.
Let me tell you, this was hands-down the absolute best cornbread EVER! It had just a touch of sweet from the corn, a texture like a moist cake, and a crunchy, crispy crust from baking in a cast iron skillet. Thank you Amie, Karen, and everyone else who chimed in.
Here’s my version of the recipe:
Sour Cream Cornbread
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour (I think C4C gluten free flour would work fine here too)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup sour cream
1 can (approx 15 ounce) creamed corn
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center.
Heat a medium (8-10 inch) cast iron skillet up over medium heat. Add the butter, letting it melt until it turns golden brown (watch it closely as the dark color of the pan can make it hard to tell when you have a nice hazelnut color to your butter, but do get there-that browning makes all the difference). Remove the pan from the heat and use a pastry brush to be sure a thin layer of the butter coats the insides of the pan. Pour the remaining butter into the well in the dry ingredients. Add the sour cream, creamed corn, and eggs to the well and use a fork to beat together the wet ingredients, eventually incorporating the dry as well, until you have a moist batter that is just slightly lumpy.
Add the oil to the cast iron skillet, using a brush to coat it evenly. This will ensure your butter doesn’t burn. Place the pan in the hot oven until almost smoking, about 5 minutes.
Remove the hot pan from the oven and pour in the cornbread batter.
Bake until just set and lightly golden, 30-35 minutes-a toothpick inserted into the center will come out with just a few moist crumbs and the sides of the cornbread will begin pulling away from the pan. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, cut slices, and serve (with honey, if desired).