There's a little mom-and-pop restaurant in town called Call of the Canyon. Despite being found in northwest Ohio, they serve food with a great Southwestern flavor - sandwiches, salads, burritos, nachos, and the like. It's all perfectly fresh, and the menu is quite whimsical - my favorite dish name is "Go Further West, Young Man!" for a salad with Hawaiian-themed ingredients.
Kristin and I both have our various favorite things to order, but we always make sure to get their corn muffins with our meals. I love cornbread in general, but these corn muffins are really fantastic. Sweet without being too cakey, perfectly dense, and moist inside with a nice crust on the outside. They're good. Since I was introduced, I've been on a quest to recreate them, and I think I've finally just about got it.
This cornbread is my standard accompaniment to chili. Kristin likes to butter it, but I don't think it needs it - I prefer to dip it right into the chili, so the sweetness of the cornbread and the spice of the chili make a really nice balance. Try it out, and I think you'll be sold.
This is a large batch, that can easily be halved and made in a smaller pan or in muffin form. We'll need flour, cornmeal, sugar, eggs, butter, milk, vanilla, baking powder, fresh or frozen corn, salt, and pepper. Using both flour and cornmeal keeps the bread from being too gritty, as it would be with entirely cornmeal, but also ensures plenty of flavor.
First, soften the butter, and cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Stir in the eggs and beat until mixed.
In another bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and baking powder with the happiest mixing spoon you can find.
I was briefly excited to think that the "bowl of white powder" picture for this recipe might not be so white because of the cornmeal. Oh well.
Now, add some of the flour mixture into the large bowl with the sugar and butter, and add some of the milk. Mix until they're combined, then keep adding dry stuff and milk a bit at a time, mixing in between. This will keep you from sloshing milk or spraying flour all over the room while you try to mix it all at once, and ensure that things are more evenly combined. Keep going until it's all well mixed and your arm is tired. You might consider mixing by folding with two spoons once the bowl gets pretty full.
Now for the corn itself! I like having some real corn in my cornbread. It keeps the texture a bit varied, adds some nice flavor, and the fresh kernels add a nice element of moisture as you bite down on them. If you're using frozen, just dump it on in. If you're using fresh ears, carefully remove the kernels from the cob.
Although you can make this recipe into muffins, I went with a pan this time for the sake of expedience. Grease a 9x13 or 10x14 pan well, and pour the batter right in.
Bake 45-50 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the top is cracked and golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool just a couple of minutes after removing from the oven, then serve while it's still warm.
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 50 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 16-20
Pre-heat oven to 375. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter, sugar, and vanilla.
Add eggs, beat, and mix until combined.
In another large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
Alternate adding milk and dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mixing well until thoroughly combined.
Cut kernels from corn cobs and mix into batter.
Pour batter into greased pan. Bake 50 minutes at 375 until top is cracked and golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes in pan. Serve warm.