Sweet, moist and tender, this skillet jalapeño cornbread is an award winner. Say goodbye to all the dry cornbread recipes you tried before and welcome this one that looks and tastes (almost) like a cake!
When you live in the US, you can’t avoid Mexican food. It’s everywhere here, and even more so in my neighborhood where many Latin Americans live, which has a huge impact on the grocery stores nearby: they’re packed with Mexican products. Good for me, as I love Mexican food. Among my favorites, you will find guacamole of course (check my perfect healthy – and tasty – version here) and tacos. I love all kinds of tacos, with a little crush on tacos with a twist, such as my Thai salmon tacos with a mango-avocado salsa.
With Mexican food comes Mexican culture of course, and today’s recipe arrives right on time for one of the biggest Mexican celebration, Cinco de Mayo, held on May 5th every year. Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the Mexican Army’s underdog victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5th 1862. Funnily, I had never heard of this celebration before moving to the US. As a Frenchwoman, I guess we did not insist on this defeat of France at school or in the history books. Remember, History is always written by the winners. This made me chuckle as I was preparing this recipe: a French girl celebrating the defeat of France somehow! Well, in my defense, the battle occurred a very long time ago!
However, over the years, in the United States and Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has taken a significance beyond the original commemoration. The date has become associated with the Mexican-American culture in general, and this explains why everyone is crazy about it right now, planning to order or prepare Mexican food tonight, along with Margaritas or other Mexican drinks. It’s going be my first Cinco de Mayo and I can’t wait to see what it’s like!
In the meantime, I took it as the perfect opportunity to finally share with you my favorite cornbread recipe. David is absolutely crazy about cornbread and he is usually the one baking a batch, year after year. I like it too, but I never thought it’s anything particularly special… until I got the opportunity to try one that was exceptional both in texture and taste, extremely moist, and slightly sweet (again, I’m a sweet tooth, I can’t help it!). Now if I tell you where I tasted it, you might laugh at me: it’s the sweet jalapeño cornbread from Mariano’s (a local grocery store) ! I know I know, not as fancy as you would think. But seriously, I tried it again and over again, and it’s exactly the one I like.
Let me be more specific here. I like when my cornbread is very moist, tender, and melts in my mouth. To me, it must be a treat we can either enjoy as an appetizer along with a savory dish or as a cake for dessert – the best being here to use the leftovers for breakfast the following day. I like it sweet with a little spicy touch as well. So now here is what I don’t like: I don’t like when my cornbread is too dry, dense, and fade in taste. Because of my high requirements, I had to search for a recipe I would be totally satisfied with. Of course, Mariano’s cornbread gave me some inspiration, but I wanted to find my own one.
And I found it! This cornbread has it all. To achieve the perfectly moist texture, I used both whole milk and buttermilk, and cut the butter a little, replacing the missing part with vegetable instead, that helps to get a light and moist texture. The recipe also incorporates honey together with sugar: the duo gives a delicate sweet taste to the bread/cake (I don’t even know which word is correct anymore!). Finally, I added some sliced jalapeños for an extra spicy kick. You can either keep them or skip them, it’s up to you!
Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone, have a nice day!
- 1 cup (25 cl) homemade buttermilk*
- 1 cup (120g) cornmeal
- 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (200g) white sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- ⅔ cup (160 ml) vegetable oil
- 1½ cups (35 cl) whole milk
- 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) honey
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) melted butter
- 3 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and grease a large skillet or a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Prepare the homemade buttermilk, following the instructions in the note below.* Let sit.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, milk, honey and melted butter.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until combined.
- Add the seeded and sliced jalapeño to the batter, and pour into the prepared skillet or baking dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the top of the cornbread starts to brown and show cracks.