I can’t believe it has taken me 20 days to get to this post. For that, I owe you all an apology. As a fearless, recipe-experimenter, I feel it’s my duty to tell you about those recipes that blow your mind, the kind that makes you weep when the final crumb has been eaten. This Bacon Cheddar Cornbread is just that.
Bacon. Cheddar. Cornbread.
Let’s do this.
I’ve featured cornbread on this blog a couple of times. Numerous tries later, I felt that I had found a recipe worth repeating, but had yet to face the kind of recipe that would blow my socks off. Enter Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. I love this publication and their email newsletters. Every day I get little hints at what I could make for dinner, and they are definitely tempting. I tweaked this recipe by using Trader Joe’s Smoked Applewood Bacon, which marks my triumphant return to bacon after a 4-years-absence. With the smokey and salty smell filling my kitchen, I was practically drooling before I’d even started the cornbread.
The trick to this cornbread is to fry the bacon carefully, save the drippings, and stir all that bacon-goodness in to the cornbread batter. Buttermilk is a must; you need the slight tang in this bread. Also, go with sharp cheddar. You want the cheddar flavor to be strong, or else yo won’t be able to taste any of it, especially with a heavyweight like bacon. I didn’t have a skillet to bake the bread in, and used a square 8×8 pan. After a quick 20 minutes in the oven, the cornbread emerged, the first one to the impending food party.
I mustered all the strength I had to not dive in it, plus I needed to make room for the huge turkey that would grace our table. But this Christmas, don’t expect those kind of manners. I’m attacking this cornbread the second I get the chance.
Give a girl a chunk of cornbread and a glass of whiskey, and I’m all ready for some Christmas cheer.
● 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
● 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
● 3 tbsp. sugar
● 1 tsp. baking soda
● 1 tsp. salt
● 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
● 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
● 2 large eggs
● 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces), (I prefer Tillamook but use what you want)
● 2 tbsp. butter
● 8 ounces bacon, finely chopped, (I used Trader Joe’s Smoked Applewood Bacon)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Spoon 2 tablespoons bacon drippings into 8×8-inch metal baking pan. Tilt pan to coat bottom and sides of pan with bacon drippings
In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, salt, and pepper; make a well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk and eggs to well, and whisk to loosen eggs. Gently incorporate dry ingredients, then mix in cheese.
Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cornbread cool in pan at least 15 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrap completely cooled bread in plastic, and store at room temperature up to 1 day.