While I do have a cornbread muffin recipe that I really like, I decided to see what else is out there that has the potential to be better. I decided to search out a highly rated recipe on Allrecipes.com. Well, there ended up being two recipes that both received rave reviews, and, as they were quite different, I decided to try them both out, to see which we preferred. One is a more traditionally Southern recipe, made with buttermilk, while the other has a more Midwest slant, made with additional butter, sugar, and regular milk.
First up is “Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread.“ This recipe contains buttermilk and baking soda, and equal parts flour and cornmeal.
The second recipe is Buttery Cornbread. It contains regular milk (I used whole milk, as I had it on hand), baking powder, and more than twice as much flour as cornmeal.
The difference in recipes was immediately evident, even in the batter for each. Grandmother’s batter (on the left) was much thicker, similar in consistency to cooked grits. On the other hand, the Buttery batter was much thinner, closer in consistency to a yellow cake batter.
After being baked (375 degrees for 30 minutes), the differences became less pronounced, but were still visible. Grandmother’s thicker batter stayed solid and retained a dense shape while baking. On the other hand, the baking powder and cake batter-like texture of Buttery’s recipe contributed to a cake-like finish, with higher rounded edges.
In regards to taste, the differences became even more evident. Both are excellent recipes and worthy of the great reviews. Grandmothers Buttermilk Cornbread had a rich, dense texture, and the extra cornmeal in the recipe really contributes to an appropriately “corny” taste. The buttermilk lends itself to keeping this bread incredibly moist, as well as giving it a slightly tangy aftertaste. Buttery Cornbread was indeed buttery, both in mouth-feel and taste. This bread was a bit less dense, with a strong corn taste, but less so than Grandmother’s (as expected).
For us, Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread won, hands down. We liked the richer, denser texture and more pronounced taste of the buttermilk and additional cornmeal. I will definitely add this recipe to my binder, the perfect accompaniment to a warm bowl of chili on a cold evening!