Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday's Twist: Popcorn Cornbread

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try.

This is a good example of what I was talking about yesterday.  Making cornbread once is realistic, but to make it twice in one day just for the purposes of the blog is unrealistic.  Unless you all want to show up at my door and help me eat both pans?  Hmm, that's what I thought.  

Rather than make a second pan I'll use this as an opportunity to share a little bit about my recipe development process.  Let's see, what's the best way to do this? How about bullet points:

- First an idea pops into my head- "hey, you should make bread with ground up popcorn in place of some of the flour...okay... hmmm... how about cornbread so it's a popcorn cornbread with double or triple corn? ....yes, let's go with that for now."

- Once I settle on a basic idea I compare multiple recipes for the base (unless I already have a tried and true base).  In this case I looked at various cornbread recipes, took bits and pieces of what I liked from each one, then wrote out a final recipe in my notebook.  I write everything out in a notebook to keep track of what works and what doesn't.  It's filled with notes and scribbles of chicken scratch (or rather, kitchen scratch) on ideas, improvements and results.

-With enough experience in the kitchen you can tell if a recipe looks right.  For example, does it have the proper ratios?  Is there enough acid to activate your baking soda, or do you need to use baking powder?  I'm not really sure how to explain what all goes through my head here, but it helps to understand the science and purpose behind the ingredients and their interactions.

-Once it all looks good on paper it's on to the kitchen.  I keep my notebook with me and write down any changes I make as I go (though I try to stick by my original plan).

-Next comes the tasting and evaluation.  Appearance, texture and taste are all considerations here.  In this case the cornbread tasted average, but nothing amazing.  Texture was also something I wanted to improve.  Even with 6 cups of popcorn and a cup of cornmeal this bread didn't have as much corny texture as I was hoping for.  Adding corn kernels and some chopped red or green pepper would provide both flavor and more texture.  The bread was also a little wetter than I'd like, so I jotted down notes to decrease the milk by 1/4 cup.  There are actually lots of options here to try, but I don't need another pan of cornbread right now.  This one is still completely edible, just not as perfect as a perfectionist would like.

Popcorn Cornbread

6 cups popped popcorn, unpopped kernels removed
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1-1/2 cups milk (I'd try using 1-1/4 cups next time)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp jarred sliced jalapenos, chopped (use more if you want it hot)
1 Tbsp liquid from jarred jalapenos
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
(next time I'd add corn kernels and bell pepper)

* Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and 8-in square pan; set aside.
* In a food processor pulse popcorn until finely ground.  In a large bowl combine popcorn, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and garlic.
*In a second bowl combine milk, oil, vinegar, jalapenos, jalapeno liquid, and brown sugar.  Stir in green onions (and corn and bell pepper, if using).
* Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in wet mixture.  Stir just until moistened and pour into prepared pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

p.s. In case you're wondering, the popcorn completely dissolves and you can't even tell it's in there. 

Food for Thought: "Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge." -Eckhart Tolle


  1. In all honesty, Ms. Blue, I am surprised that it worked out. Not that you could do it-that I never doubted-but that the already cooked popcorn gave you a fluffy cornbread that was still edible.
    The reason that you are wanting to decrease the milk is because normally the water in the milk is used in the cooking of the starch in the cornmeal. You replaced it with already cooked starch in the popcorn so the water in the milk just kinda sat there and made the bread soggy.
    One way that my mom makes her cornbread have more corny texture is to use creamed corn in addition to light milk and an egg to hold it together.
    I will definitely be suggesting that she adds popcorn, too.

    1. Thanks for the explanation! I should have started with a good base recipe, then replaced part of the flour with popcorn. I tend to combine multiple recipes, play with too many variables at once, and still half-way expect it to work. If you have a good base recipe for cornbread, feel free to shoot it my way.