Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread
On Monday we affirmed that when we ask ourselves “Self, would this taste good with cheese?” the answer is: “That was a rhetorical question.” Double up on the Cheddar, Colby, and Jack, because today we are dishing out healthy slices of Cheesy Jalapeño Cornbread.
Cornbread and I have a love for all seasons. In winter, I dunk my cornbread into my favorite chili recipe; in summer, I bake cornbread into cute little muffins, then stuff the centers with fresh berry jam until they nearly burst. (Spoiler alert! Exploding jam cornbread muffins coming to The Law Student’s Wife!)
Cheesy Jalapeño Cornbread knows no season. This cornbread-with-kick is equally perfect at a summer BBQ as it is on a chilly winter night.
To keep cornbread and my love affair fiery enough for high-heel Saturday—yet comfortable enough for yoga-pant Tuesday—I’ve developed a “mother” cornbread batter that I load with whichever fun extras suit my mood, complementary flavor needs, or outfit.
My mother cornbread batter is a healthy twist on classic comfort food. With whole-wheat pastry flour (a finer grind of whole wheat flour that keeps the batter light) and applesauce (double points for replacing fat and piling on the moisture), this cornbread is low in fat and higher in fiber, but remains soft and tender. This health-factor is our secret. After one bite, all that will matter to your friends (and to us) is that this cornbread is delicious. Plus, now you can add extra butter.
Now that we have our mother-batter down, let’s talk add-ins. We could leave out the cheese andjalapeños and have plain cornbread that’s perfect for topping with butter, honey, or jam (I motion for all three.) We could stuff this batter with cheese alone, and it would be gooey, lovely, and satisfying. Today, however, we want more: gooey Cheesy Jalapeño Cornbread it must be.
If you are spice-shy, fear not: the jalapeño flavor is actually fairly subtle. If you prefer more of a kick, I’d suggest adding an extra half or whole jalapeño. For cheese, any combination of shredded sharp cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Colby, or Pepper Jack (extra heat) will be perfection. Scallions round out the flavor. Plus, their green parts scattered across the top look oh-so-pretty.
I whipped up Cheesy Jalapeño Cornbread on a Tuesday (in yoga pants) and had every intention of devouring the leftovers on Saturday (in high-heels if necessary)—until Ben and I finished the pan on Wednesday night. No regrets. Cheesy Jalapeño Cornbread is always the right decision. My self told me so.
Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread
Gooey cheese and fresh jalapenos give this fool-proof cornbread a special kick you can't resist. A lighter, healthier cornbread recipe, Cheesy Jalapeño Cornbread is made with whole wheat flour, but stays moist and tender thanks to applesauce. One bite, and all you (and your friends) will remember is that it is crazy delicious!
Yield: 9, 2.5-inch square servings (one 8x8-inch pan)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1/2 cup part-skim shredded cheese: any combo of sharp cheddar, Colby, Monterrey Jack, or Pepper Jack (I did half cheddar, half Monterrey)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chopped scallions (white and green parts), plus extra for garnish (2-3 scallions total)
- 2 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeño peppers (about 2 peppers)
- Combine the cornmeal, whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, applesauce, and canola oil.
- With a wooden spoon, stir the web ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved, but do not overmix. Gently stir in the cheese, 1/4 cup scallions, and jalapenos, just until incorporated. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, then sprinkle with remaining scallions. Bake for 22-27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly, slice, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Leftover cornbread will keep at room temperature for 1-2 days (cover with foil or plastic wrap and place in an air-tight container), in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer for 1 month (double wrap with foil or plastic and place in a zip-top bag).