Sweet Sour Cream Cornbread (adapted from Open House, 1995)

Sweet Sour Cream Cornbread is a quick and dirty instant cornbread recipe perfect for beginner cooks.  If I were twenty years younger I might call this a “hack” or “cheat code”.  The key ingredient is Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, already a shortcut to better-than-it-ought-to-be cornbread.   For those unfamiliar, Jiffy Corn Muffins are usually prepared the same way one might prepare cake from a mix.   Just whisk in some eggs and milk, pour the whole thing into a sheet pan, toss it in the oven and you’ve got fresh cornbread in a half hour or so.   Sweet Sour Cream Cornbread uses the same muffin mix, but uses different ingredients to produce a cornbread quite different from the plain Jane mix.

The recipe for Sweet Sour Cream Cornbread comes from Open House, a 1995 cookbook published by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.  The original recipe is simply called “Cornbread”.  When adapting this recipe I felt this was simply inadequate to differentiate it from the tens of thousands of other cornbread recipes out there.    Cornbread runs the gamut from sweet to savory and everything in between and sometimes both at the same time.  I’ve had cornbread with candied bacon, with jalapenos, with honey.  Some go well with jam, others with barbecue sauce.  They’re all still a little bit crumbly, but the word “cornbread” by itself doesn’t really tell you what you’re getting yourself into.

Sweet Sour Cream Cornbread, as the name suggests, is one of the sweeter varieties.  This may not be obvious from the ingredient list, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with Jiffy Corn Muffins, which are sweet almost to the point of feeling like a dessert.  Instead of milk, the corn muffin mix is made with vegetable oil and sour cream.   The result is  as moist as a storebought sheet cake, and very nearly as sweet.   It’s still within normal limits of cornbread sweetness, but usual toppings like honey or honey butter might take it over the top.     I’ve considered a couple of variations to try in the future, to complement or offset the sweetness.  There’s too much sugar here for hot peppers to work, but a little bit of salt or savory would go a long way.   Next time around I’ll throw in some crispy bacon bits, or maybe substitute animal fat for the vegetable oil.

Despite being on the sweet side, it still pairs well the usual stuff you’d serve cornbread with.   I made it for my family to accompany a rich eggplant chili, from the same cookbook.  It would do just as well with chili con carne or a hearty pork stew.   And it should go without saying that this is a natural fit for barbecue.   One of these days I still need to figure out a cornbread-from-scratch recipe to call my own, but in the meantime this is a decadent and memorable “cheat code”.   Enjoy!

Sweet Sour Cream Cornbread

Sweet Sour Cream Cornbread (adapted from Open House, 1995)

  • Preparation: 15 min
  • Cooking: 40 min
  • Ready in: 55 min
  • For: 10 large slices
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  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet liberally with butter or shortening.
  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk together oil, sour cream, creamed corn, and eggs. Stir in corn muffin mix just enough to moisten.
  4. Pour the batter into the greased skillet. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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