If you're not already following 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures, you've really been missing out. Not only is Natasha an amazing and adventurous cook - hello, molecular gastronomy anyone?! - but she's also the host of a really fun event ... her popular 5 Star Makeover Challenge series.
Periodically, Natasha will invite her readers to put their spin on a specific dish or ingredient and she features all of the entries in one lovely, linky post. The entries are impressive and fun. Take a look at her 2009 Makeover recap, you'll see what I mean. This month, the challenge is cornbread.
Cornbread? You don't need to ask me twice! Muffins, pancakes, waffles ... you name it, if there's corn meal in it, I am totally there. And while the challenge is open to very broad interpretation - modern, healthy, fusion, ethnic, etc. - I didn't so much makeover my cornbread as make it better. Because everything's better with bacon, right?!
Maple Bacon Cornbread:
- 1 cup of yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I use grade B)
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 cup of non-fat milk (or any kind of milk)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 4 strips of crisp, cooked bacon, crumbled
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk well with a wire whisk to blend. Reserve.
In another bowl, combine the maple syrup, butter, milk and egg. Whisk well to blend. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a spatula until just combined. Add the crumbled bacon and fold in to distribute evenly. Pour the batter into a buttered, oven-safe baking dish and bake in the middle of a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack, serve and enjoy!
Cornbread is best served hot, so if you don't use it right away, reheat gently in the microwave or a toaster oven ... then lavish with butter. ~wink~
Now, I'm not a fan of sugary, cupcake-y cornbread - so don't expect that kind of texture or flavor here. Rather, this is a tender, crumbly, slightly salty, slightly sweet little bite of deliciousness. And don't expect a gigantic hit of maple either - its there, almost as a top-note, adding a delicate hint of sweet that pairs beautifully with the bacon. In a word, its spectacular.
If you're not a fan of maple syrup, feel free to substitute 1/4 cup of granulated sugar for the syrup. If you're a huge fan of maple syrup - you could certainly glaze the top of the bread with a layer of it, after it comes out of the oven. I can also envision using maple sugar in place of the syrup, if you're so inclined.
I'm submitting this recipe to 5 Star Foodie's Cornbread Makeover Challenge and I can't wait to see the rest of the entries. They'll be posted on Tuesday, February 2nd. If you'd like to join the fun, head over to 5 Star's place and read the rules of entry here. Entries must be received by Monday, February 1st.
And now I'm off to make some chili to go with that cornbread. Dinner's at 7:30pm, don't be late!