Before we even get started on this one – I know. Cornbread is a very personal thing to a lot of you. Especially if you’re from the south (which I’m not, so give me a little extra leeway here). I’ve seen it written that in Texas, if you add sugar to your cornbread, you’re liable to be shot. I’ve also heard of grandmothers fainting at the mention of flour. So, I’m sorry, because this one is loaded up with both.
A lot of people will tell you that Southern cornbread is savoury with a bit more grit, and Northern cornbread is sweeter and fluffier. I couldn’t tell you either way. All I know is that Bo and I are obsessed with the cornbread at a restaurant near us (Copacabana), and I’ve spent the last year doing my damndest to replicate it at home. Bo was getting tired of me sneaking it out of the restaurant wrapped up in a napkin for tasting at home the next day. Yes, that really happened. Multiple times.
This cornbread is soft and fluffy, with just enough cornmeal that you wouldn’t mistake it for a cake, but it doesn’t leave a gritty feeling in your mouth either. Every bite is kissed with honey and a layered sweetness that makes this the perfect thing to snack on by itself (with a generous swipe of butter), without being so sweet that you can’t toss it on the side of a plate of ribs.
It took me a while, playing with the proportions, to get the perfect combination of texture and flavour. I also learned a few tricks of the trade (thanks google!). The key to cornbread that isn’t gritty is letting the cornmeal soak in the milk for a bit. For a cakier style, you need more flour than cornmeal, and to make it nice and sweet, without being overpowering, you need a mixture of sugar and something else (like honey, in this recipe).
These muffins are absolutely life changing warm out of the oven, but once they’re cool they’ll keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. With the kids in this house though, they never last that long.