Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baking Adventure #2

Fall is officially here, which means there are some amazingly delicious fruits and vegetables that are in their prime right now: apples, figs, pumpkins, squash, and BLUEBERRIES!!! (to name a few) Blueberries are extremely good for you as they are high in anti-oxidants, not to mention that they're absolutely delicious. Thus the reasoning behind my search for the best way to utilize their magnificentness. (In case you haven't noticed, I like to make up words.)

When searching for the recipe, I kept coming back to this Blueberry Tart recipe by Paula Deen. However, I have kind of been sweeted out lately and wanted to find something with blueberries as the star but a non-sweet/dessert. This was not an easy task until the other night my dad was having a conversation with a friend about how much he loved cornbread, but he also mentioned blueberry cornbread. Now, the "AH HA!" moment did not hit until about 5 days later while sitting at work to put two and two together, but I'm sure glad it did.

After doing some research online and reading through various recipes of simple cornbread and cornbread with jalapenos and cornbread stuffing, I finally found a blueberry cornbread recipe that struck my fancy. So without further ado, allow me to introduce this post's baking adventure...

As you can see from the link above, the recipe is pretty simple. There wasn't much prep beyond purchasing the ingredients and rinsing the blueberries. However, one thing to note when purchasing the Yellow Cornmeal for this recipe, make sure it is not the "mix". The "yellow cornmeal mix" already has baking soda, salt, and flour added. Your final product would be too salty and just a mess. Use "PLAIN" Yellow Cornmeal.
Now, the recipe states you can simply increase the amount of cornmeal to sub for not having masa flour. My grocery did in fact have masa flour, but the bag was as big as my head and I'm not baking for 200, so I opted to follow the side note about increasing Yellow Cornmeal.

Once the wet ingredients and dry ingredients have been mixed and blended in their corresponding bowls, it's time to stir them in together. Pretty simple! After fully saturating the dry ingredients in the wet, it was time to add the star ingredient: 1 cup of BLUEBERRIES!

HOWEVER, after gently folding in the blueberries to the cornbread mixture, I decided this was certainly not enough to make such a wonderful fruit stand out, so I dumped in the rest of the pint... What could go wrong right?

After greasing the 8"x8" square pan and pouring in the batter, it was time for the oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 min? Sure! No problem; I'll just clean up the kitchen while the DOUBLE blueberry cornbread bakes...

25 minutes later, I stick in the wooden skewer (ref. my Baking Adventure #1 post about wood vs. plastic or other materials)... and what do I find (much to my dismay)... the skewer comes out with batter on it, which means back in the oven to bake for a while longer!

After about 40-45 minutes of baking (checking every 5 min to see that it doesn't over bake), the skewer FINALLY comes out clean when placed in the middle of the blueberry cornbread.

Next, it's time to cool and relax, then enjoy!


Or was it? After the cornbread cooled, I tasted a little sample and wasn't terribly pleased. The cornbread was decently moist but didn't exude much flavor or sweetness. (The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of sugar, which would leave one to believe it might be a sweeter cornbread... not so much.) Time to put my creative baking hat on and think... what goes well with warm cornbread? BUTTER... ok, got that... what is this double blueberry cornbread lacking? SUGAR... BY GEORGE I'VE GOT IT!!!

HONEY BUTTER!!! I returned to the grocery to buy some honey and got to work combining 1/2 stick of softened butter (aka 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup) with 1 tablespoon of honey. After blending, the honey butter went back in the fridge to let it set. Let me tell you, I haven't had a more delicious butter in my life. (Secret: I always use salted butter even if the recipe calls for unsalted.)

After I found the magical solution to an otherwise mediocre Double Blueberry Cornbread, it was off to mom and dad's to surprise dad and see if it passed his stamp of approval. I warmed up the bread in the microwave and then topped it with the honey butter and served... DAD LOVED IT!!! I think he spoiled his dinner that mom would be cooking for us in a couple hours, but it was worth it. hehe

Ok, that's it for this baking adventure! Hope you have enjoyed! Not sure what the next one will be yet, possibly something with Figs as I've only eaten them a couple times raw and many times in Fig Newtons.

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