Growing up, my mother's side of the family had an extremely labor-intensive heirloom cornbread recipe that took virtually all day to make. This cornbread was a character on the table at many family gatherings. It was called "double cornbread." The "double" came into play when one would bake a basic cornbread, then remove it from the oven, crumble it up and fold it into stiffly beaten egg whites and numerous other ingredients like corn, cheddar cheese and, undoubtedly, more melted butter, then bake it once again.
The result was an enormous batch of something hovering between a cornbread and a savory bread pudding. It was about the richest, most indulgent cornbread I've ever encountered.
Although I parted ways with that particularly complicated rendition of cornbread long ago, I still appreciate little sunbursts of juicy corn kernels and the texture of melted cheese in my simpler cornbread recipe, a preference I know I only came by because of that old recipe. Texture is always a good thing, especially when that texture is flavorful and colorful, and improves both the taste and the appearance of the food. In that vein, I've taken an easy and reliable cornbread recipe and added spicy jalapenos, gooey cheddar cheese and bright corn kernels. Then, as soon as the cornbread comes out of the oven, I glaze it with honey butter. The combination of spicy, salty, and sweet in this cornbread is irresistible.
Have you ever baked cornbread in a muffin pan? Each cornbread muffin gets evenly golden-brown and crisp on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. Plus, you don't have to worry about slicing the cornbread, because each muffin is its own convenient, mess-free portion. Of course, you could also bake this cornbread in a cast-iron skillet or in a standard baking pan, if you prefer. I like to top each cornbread muffin with a thin slice of jalapeno, because not only does it make the muffins more appealing to the eye, it also gives your family or guests fair warning that there is something spicy inside.
Jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins with honey butter glaze
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup white sugar
½ cup buttermilk
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
1 cup medium cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
For honey butter glaze:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-count muffin pan.
Combine the melted butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.
Incorporate eggs and buttermilk. Beat until frothy.
Take 1 jalapeno, slice it in half, and remove the stem and seeds. Dice it finely. Add the corn, diced jalapeno, and cheddar to the bowl with the buttermilk mixture. Stir until just combined.
Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Divide batter into prepared muffin pan. Take the other jalapeno and slice thinly. Place one jalapeno slice on top of each muffin. Bake 20-25 minutes.
Alaska From Scratch