I want to start off by saying that, like all of you, I’m just sick over what’s happened in Newtown, CT at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and have been praying for the victims and their families since hearing the news on Friday afternoon. As the daughter of two parents who work in the school system, this type of senseless violence is literally my biggest nightmare. If you or someone you know are feeling like they may hurt themselves or others, take it seriously, tell someone you know and trust, and GET HELP NOW.
It feels weird to blog per usual, as anything I could bring to the table seems rather trivial in comparison to what’s happening in Newtown right now, but perhaps Honey Jalapeno Cornbread can provide a short respite from the constant stream of sad news.
I was able to spend the weekend with a lot of people that I love. One of my best girlfriends was in town so we had coffee and went Christmas shopping together on Saturday, then Finn, my 3-year-old nephew, had his very first Christmas concert at church. Guess who sat through the entire thing with his hands folded neatly in his lap?? I’ve never laughed so hard. That was fun! he exclaimed afterwards.
Yesterday, after a trip to the gym and running some errands, I got down to cooking a warm and hearty dinner for Ben and myself – my favorite Sweet & Spicy Chili with Honey Jalapeno Cornbread.
Last week I came to the realization that I hadn’t made a single batch of chili all fall, which I needed to change quickly. Since you can’t have chili without cornbread (well you could, but, WHY WOULD YOU?) I decided to whip up a batch of honey jalapeno cornbread to go with, based on something I’d seen at Whole Foods a few months ago.
This Honey Jalapeno Cornbread was positively awesome! Perfectly sweet and moist, with a fresh-jalapeno kick. Ben and I both devoured a warm, honey-drizzled slice with our cauldrons of chili. And as if it doesn’t get any better, this cornbread tastes even better the second day!
Start the Honey Jalapeno Cornbread by whisking together 1/4 cup each melted butter, unsweetened applesauce, and sugar. I adore using unsweetened applesauce to replace half the butter when baking and do it all the time in cakes, and, well, cornbread!
Next drizzle in 1/4 cup honey. The honey will give the cornbread a sweet, crispy crust, and a dense, moist center. Ridiculousness.
Now onto those jalapenos. Cut the tops off of 2 jalapenos then, using a paring knife, hallow out the insides to remove the ribs and seeds, which is where all the heat in a jalapeno lives. After they’ve been hallowed out, thinly slice them into rings.
Add the jalapenos into the applesauce mixture, then whisk to combine.
To round out the wet ingredients, add 2 eggs, and 1 cup low-fat buttermilk then whisk until smooth.
Now, in a separate bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. TIP: You don’t have to buy an entire bag of cornmeal if you don’t think you’ll use it often. Visit the bulk bins to buy just enough for this recipe!
Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two batches, then pour the mixture into an 8×8 or equivalent-sized baking dish sprayed well with non-stick spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Slice then serve drizzled with honey for the ultimate chili companion!
Honey Jalapeno Cornbread
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8×8 or equivalent sized baking dish well with nonstick spray then set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter and applesauce. Add sugar and honey then whisk to combine. Add jalapenos then whisk to combine. Add eggs and buttermilk then whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking soda. Whisk into dry ingredients in two batches. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish then bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Like I said, the honey caramelizes as it bakes to produce a crispy outside crust. It is sublime.
The inside is really creamy and moist though. The only way I like my cornbread. I know there are some savory cornbread lovers out there, but for me it’s all sweet, all the time!
And, believe it or not, a drizzle of honey on top is actually amazing combined with the subtle heat from the thin slices of fresh jalapeno. I usually hate raw honey, but it is a MUST with a big ol’ slice! BTW: if you really like heat, I would up the jalapeno count to three. Two was just perfect for me, the spice hater.