Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Big Cornbread Debate: PinterTest Kitchen

This month I haven't been doing a lot of pinning. I'm not sure why, I guess the desire comes and goes or that I've been doing a bunch of other junk on the computer.  

So, this months PinterTest kitchen doesn't necessarily come from Pinterest, but which might be the birthplace of all the best recipes on Pinterest anyways. I know the old fashioned way to go is to try things from cookbooks and cooks magazines (my mama's favorite), but I just am too afraid to waste a whole meal on a recipe that I don't trust and that I haven't read reviews about! I guess thats a product of this technological generation, I Google EVERYTHING, I check reviews for EVERYTHING!

So for our Neighborhood Group at church, each week we are supposed to bring something that goes along with the food theme. This weekend the food theme was Southern, so I chose cornbread. Having never made cornbread I consulted Seth for if he had a preference on what kind. Let me preface this by saying that Seth is picky about nothing, except dijon mustard. Seth likes everything, every freaking thing....BUT when I told him about the cornbread he says..."Well, Cornbread might be something I'm kind of picky about"

My mind almost blew up. And then in the midst of my shock that there was something he was actually picky about...I came up with a challenge.  Let's see if I can find a recipe that he actually likes thats homemade, I figured the box recipes rendered a more dry consistency so I decided to try a boxed cornbread and a recipe that I found online.  Of course I searched high and low on knowing that whatever I chose had to have rave reviews, and had to be m.o.i.s.t. 

Side note: I HATE that word with every fiber of my being. I don't like spelling it, I don't like hearing it, I surely cannot say it out loud. But how else do you describe a good piece of cornbread?
I digress. 

I really wanted to try three different recipes to see which was best. But, Monday being my only day off to do anything productive I was only able to try one...and honestly, how fancy can cornbread get? Apparently very fancy judging by the amount of recipes you can find online.

I started with the Trader Joes boxed brand:

The instructions were simple enough. You just need a little oil, 1 egg and some milk.
The ingredients had little bits of corn in it which added a nice touch when you bit in.
The bread came out very flat, almost like a cake. 

This recipe was quick and easy. 45 minutes in the oven and bam!

The recipe I chose from All Recipes had to have great reviews, I wanted to do more searching...but I'll be honest I was already at the grocery store and had a long list of things to do that day. But this recipe had almost 5 stars and a ton of reviews!

The recipe I got from All is this:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
  2. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix egg, sour cream, milk, and butter in a small bowl. Fold egg mixture into flour mixture until just moistened; pour into prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Another very easy recipe, nothing out of the ordinary. I really thought the sour cream would take it over the top. I think the trick is not in the fancy stuff, its just making sure that it is m.o.i.s.t enough!
I wish I had taken a picture of the second pretty much looked the same as the first but it had a little more character, it rose more in the center and looked more home baked.

Off to group we went. 
I prefaced our friends with the situation and that they had to try both to get the full effect.
I specifically watched Seth's face when he was eating both ones...
and then he slyly smiled at me half way through and told me he liked the boxed one better.
I was stunned!
I definitely liked the home baked one so much better, it had more flavor and texture and the boxed one tasted like a corny cupcake. The rest of our group agreed thats the homemade one was better..
But Seth actually liked the boxed one! He said it was because it was more m.o.i.s.t...
but I tell you it lacked in the flavor department, even with the extra bits of corn. 

Morale of that story?
Keep cornmeal on hand at home, and I bet you can make a better cornbread with these ingredients and at a faster cooking time than bothering with the store recipe. Maybe next time I would add more sour cream to make a little m.o.i.s.t-er?
Or maybe I'll keep testing out all of these recipes to find something that can make BM happy! Maybe something with cheese in it perhaps.
Happy Pintertesting friends,
perhaps I could find a good recipe there :)


  1. My hubby's super picky about more than just mustard (which he also hates). His favorite cornbread? The Jiffy box, I kid you not. I think it's gross and super dry, but that's what he likes. Go figure. At least it's cheap. ;-)

  2. So I need to know. Does he not like Dijon? Or does he only like a specific Dijon? I'm intrigued. And I've heard rave reviews about TJs cornbread mix. Need to try. Thanks for linking up, friend. I miss your face.

  3. MOIST! i just like to make you squirm... you and the handful of other friends i know that also do not like the word "MOIST!" :-)

    As for cornbread, it scares me. I have my 10 yr old make them from cornmeal for me. c

  4. Fab Jamie!
    Love that BM was particular about his corn bread... but we will have to work on his pallet... homemade (should) always win! :)
    I'm going to have to deviate from our traditional box of Jiff mix and try your recipe from scratch... way more industrious Mrs. Van Nuys!
    Well done!