I will admit that although I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, I have a slight southern accent and demeanor. I love all things South- and good ol’ southern food tops my list. Sometimes Yeshiva boys will come to my house for a meal expecting Cholent and chicken soup, and I serve up shredded BBQ sandwiches and sweet potato casserole (recipes coming soon!). I believe that you can’t truly call yourself a southern cook unless you have a seriously good corn bread recipe in your box. Some like it sweet, with honey, others savory, with a crust from a hot skillet. I like mine nestled in between.
It’s not always easy finding traditional American ingredients in Israel, and I often find myself making strange substitutions. For the life of me, I could not track down real, ground corn meal. I kept coming across corn flour, which is really corn starch, used as a thickener. That wouldn’t do. That is- until I made it down to Kibbutz! Thank goodness, they had a gleaming yellow bag of corn meal in their supply store. I tucked it safely into my backpack and schlepped it up to Jerusalem on the bus after my most recent trip, dreaming of the day when I could bake up these yummy muffins. Gil and I are in the middle of a move to Ramat Beit Shemesh, a suburb outside of Jerusalem. We definitely need these easy treats to grab as we run out of the house in the morning (Ok, when Gil runs out of the house in the morning. I run out around Noon. Sometimes not at all. Don’t judge me). Who knew two people could accumulate so much stuff in the course of less than a year. But just wait until you see the new kitchen 🙂
This recipe is adapted from one I found on Allrecipes, an excellent source for the chef or baker who likes to read reviews. It has a nifty ingredient feature, where you can punch in any ingredients you have in your cupboard, listing those you don’t want/have, and find hundreds of recipes tailored just for you!
Makes one skillet of corn bread, or twelve regular sized corn muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream or Rich’s whip, or other non-dairy cream substitute
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×9 inch baking pan or muffin tin, leaving a little oil in the bottom. Stick into preheated oven while you prepare the batter. If you want to be really traditional, you can also use a deep cast iron skillet preheated with oil, which gives a golden brown crust. Either way, you want to heat the oil up so the batter will sizzle a bit and form a crust around your bread.
2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the cream, oil, honey and eggs; stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared baking pan or muffin tin, take care to avoid spattering the hot oil on yourself!
3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
As these are pretty moist, they keep well up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also double-wrap in plastic and freeze for, well, forever, taking one or two out and defrosting on the counter or microwave when the craving strikes. These pair nicely with chili but are also perfect for breakfast, heated up with a bit of butter wedge inside.