Honey Chipotle Cornbread

Ah, April vacation. Even if you don't have fancy travel plans, it's a great time of year to enjoy some time off. In addition to getting some outside chores done, we were able to catch up with good friends for a couple nights this week to enjoy some low-key dinner and conversation. One of these get-togethers featured a chili and taco supper, and I made some cornbread to bring along as a side dish. Not just plain cornbread, though —  decided to spice it up a bit. This is an adaptation of the (excellent) cornbread recipe on the back of the bag of cornmeal.

Honey Chipotle Cornbread

Makes about a dozen muffins

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground chipotle
3 Tbs. honey
1 cup minus 1 Tbs. milk
1 egg
1/4 cup oil

1. First, you need to grind the chipotle peppers if you're starting with whole ones:

We smoked and dried our own last summer, and have whole ones stored in the freezer. To grind, use a pair of kitchen shears to cut into very small pieces, then grind them down with a mortar and pestle. This takes a while, so be patient. If you're using store-bought chipotle that's already ground, you're good to go. Our chipotles are very, very spicy, so a little goes a long way (and a bigger chunk can be a big surprise to the person eating it!). You can probably add more to taste if it's store-bought, but be cautious--the idea is to add some smoky flavor, not to burn people's mouths.

2. Stir together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl:

3. Mix together the remaining wet ingredients in a separate bowl (I used the stand mixer):

4. Add dry ingredients to the wet a scoop at a time while mixing together. At this point you can take a taste and adjust the amount of chipotle as desired:

5. As you can see, the "batter" fluffs up a lot, and is not very liquid. You can let it rest a bit while you grease the muffin tin:

I recommend butter for this, but that's because I'm using a cast-iron cornbread tin. You could also just use cupcake papers and be done with it.

6. Use a spoon to fill the cups or molds (about 2/3 if making regular muffins). Bake in a 425-degree oven for 12-15 minutes (probably 15 for regular muffins, but the corn-shaped ones go fast). 

7. Let cool on a rack for a few minutes before eating:

These are delicious warm out of the oven, but you need to let them cool at least a little or they'll break. I recommend them with butter, but they're also good plain. Perfect with a hot bowl of chili on a cool night!


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