Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Studded Golden Cornbread #BreadBakers

A little comfort food is in order these days! This cornbread uses honey to sweeten and is packed with frozen corn kernels, staying moist (sorry) thanks to yogurt and heavy cream. The result is a perfectly balanced side for any meal!

I have been making cornbread for what seems like forever. As a kid, my Home Economics teacher used to make cornbread muffins with us that were almost crunchy with the amount of oil they had. Trips to the southern States introduced me to johnnycakes and skillet cornbread, which I devoured with honey and butter. But up in Canada where I live, cornbread is essentially cake or muffin like. My mom has had this recipe for decades, hand-written on a card from an old coworker complete with commentary (including strike-outs with notes like "this is BS, do this instead") and it was always a special-occasion bake due to the indulgent ingredients it called for. When I inherited the recipe, I tweaked it a little bit to use what we usually have in the house - whole wheat and Kamut flour (because, let's face it, I have a huge pantry of random flours I need to get baking with), flaxseed to replace the eggs (which I rarely have at home) and vanilla-flavoured Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream and sugar. The bread is still plenty sweet with a heady dose of honey, and it does not lack in tenderness and moisture thanks to a whole cup of heavy cream. While the recipe was originally for a square pan, I have 100% made it into muffins (jumbo sized ones are so good!) and froze them for later.

While it has been a good while since I made this cornbread, writing about it still fills me with a little bit of sadness. You see, I broke out this cornbread recipe not just for #breadbakers, but because it was going to be N's breakfast the day of our vacation. Due to the pandemic, we obviously had to put those plans on hold, but I still decided to boost the sunshine of our lives with a batch of the bright yellow quickbread. Lo and behold, N fell in love with it (and honestly, why wouldn't he - it's delicious) and I've made it several times since then. He has asked me to emphasize that adding the corn kernels is not optional - they add a perfect "pop" to the bread and those on the top get nice and toasty.

While I may not be jetting off to paradise, this bread will be made again. And again. It's an heirloom for a reason, and as with most things it develops and modifies over time with each new baker. Who knows, the next time this happens in the kitchen it may be with my blue cornmeal, since I'm out of yellow and it seems to still be missing on the shelf!

Here are the #BreadBakers of the week, bringing you breads with corn:
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies (MoW Cookies)

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are a perfect mixture of sandy texture and not-too-sweet taste. As a bonus, these cookies don't spread and warp in the oven (especially if you keep the dough cold) and they are perfect vehicles for icing! I made most of these with special-issue Halo cookie cutters that my sister won from Mercy of Whims during a game-streaming tournament (Marbles on Twitch!), but I couldn't resist a cookie just for them!

One of the things I have truly missed during these days of social distancing is the ability to go out and connect with friends. Ironically, I am by no means a "people person" despite working with people every day - I still thrive on my "alone time" which is usually spent in the kitchen, but the reality of quarantine means that any chance to interact with others is severely limited. When my classes moved online in March, I felt even stranger as the children who (often) drive me crazy also gave me a sense of purpose.

However, social media works wonders, and I was so fortunate to have come across a Facebook trivia night hosted by @mercyofwhims shortly before everything shut down completely. One night of general knowledge (which is still my favourite) turned into a weekly ritual, then a multiple-days-a-week gathering which quickly grew into a community spanning across the globe. Trivia grew into a Twitch-based game of Marbles which fills up at least 3 nights with music, laughter and fun. From the fun came the addition of prizes - which is where these cookies began. One of the events had a prize of Halo-themed cookie cutters, which I did not win due to my broken horseshoe luck, but my sister has a way with these things and scored them herself! It was a tacit agreement that not only would I get to use them first (and probably exclusively, given what I do) but that cookies for out host TurkeyBoots would also be made. Since we all grew to know each other over the weeks, I also met a new friend in my area to partake in the cookie fun, and one of my current pals from Zumba (who joined the fray) was always on the list.

Normally, I abhor sugar cookies - they're too sweet, too crunchy, and just lackluster. That's where these beauties come in, because while they are sweet, that sugar is mediated by a dose of cream cheese and salted butter in the dough. The reduction in the cookie's sweetness serves another critical purpose too - making them a vehicle for icing! And ice I did, coming out of the kitchen yesterday with a kaleidoscope of colours on my hands (not least due to a bag of powdered colour bursting on me).

Now, if you're planning on going "whole hog" with these through to the outlining and filling of icing, be prepared for a marathon, not a sprint. Not including the overnight chilling, cooling and 24 hour dry time for the frosting, this batch (1/3 of all the dough I made) took 6 hours of hands-on labour and a lot of awkward, half-bent-over standing. That said, the payoff is 150% worth it, and with a few days of rest I'll tackle the next round, keeping the batches double wrapped in the freezer for freshness.

Find MoW (and join in on Trivia and Marbles nights!):
Facebook         IG         Twitch