Butter

Mini Chile Cheese Cornbreads with Sweet Butter and Ham

January  7, 2016
Photo by Le Bec Fin
Author Notes

For weeks, I have been searching for a new moist cornbread recipe, to replace my own, and after choosing one, I fully intended to copy it as is, but. by the time it went into the oven, I had altered it so much- that it became my own creation. It is delightfully moist, especially with the sharp cheddar, corn and maple components. While the texture of the quality cornmeal really comes through, the bread is also a little more cakey than most because of the 50/50 ratio of cornmeal and AP flour (I try to use white whole wheat as my AP flour, but for some reason, it has a pastey effect in the cornbreads I have made.) The corn adds a little chew and sweetness; the jalapenos give a small kick, and enliven the yellow bread with fresh green flecks. When sandwiched with sweet butter and ham, the bread's sweetness is balanced by the savory smokiness of the ham. —LE BEC FIN

  • Makes 80 hefty hors d'oeuvre
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quality yellow cornmeal*
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Grade B maple syrup, or honey or sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain yoghurt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup(1/2 stick) melted unsalted butter
  • 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium jalapenos, seeded and minced**
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, whipped to aerate and soften
  • 1 lb. Sliced Country ham, or Jones Sliced Canadian bacon
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Sift cornmeal through salt into a mixing bowl. Combine buttermilk- butter. Add liquids to dry, blending well and quickly. Add cheese, corn and jalapeno and spread into a non-stick sprayed 9" square baking dish. 350 degrees for 20- 30 minutes, til toothpick, skewer or knife point- comes out clean when withdrawn from the center of the cornbread.
  2. * Cornmeal can go rancid much more quickly than AP flour. I buy mine from Whole Foods, which has a high turnover of its bulk flours; and I also store mine in the frig or freezer. I also keep jalapenos on the freezer door(with whole ginger root, tomato paste and chipotle puree); for chopping, their flavor and texture do not suffer, and they cut up very easily when frozen.
  3. Cut cornbread into quarters. Lift each quarter out of the pan, slice horizontally and spread soft whipped butter on the cut side of the two halves, sandwiching a double layer of ham between them. Then cut each quarter into 1" squares. Let come to room temperature before serving.

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I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom. I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??! While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines. Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!) I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me. I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.