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I mentioned a few days ago that Ina Garten is my second favorite celebrity chef. My "Barefoot Contessa at Home" cookbook dons battle scars of spilled mashed potatoes, dog eared pages, and neon post it notes marking my favorite recipes. One such recipe is her jalapeno cheddar corn bread. I modified it to make this simple corn bread. It is divine! As a co-worker noted, I am now a "corn bread fiend" At my worst, I ate 6 squares in one day. Don't knock it till you try it!

I consider myself a corn bread snob, in addition to fiend. Having sampled many a corn bread, I believe I have mastered the art, and have successfully created the prefect corn bread, or at least perfect to me. I prefer it to be soft, moist and crumbly and not too sweet. If you also yearn for this holy grail of corn bread, if you're sick of the dry, saccharine mess, passing itself for corn bread, that plagues our supermarkets and restaurant chains, look no further. 
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 Behold! The perfect ingredients for the perfect corn bread: All purpose flour, whole milk, salt, baking powder, 3 eggs, corn meal, 2 sticks unsalted butter, sugar (but not too much)!
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In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt.)
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In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs and add milk.
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Melt the butter in your microwave. It took me about a minute and a half. Stir the butter into the milk and eggs. The coldness of the milk will coagulate the hot butter, but don't worry, it will melt again in the oven.
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Now pour the chunky liquid mixture of butter, eggs and milk into the dry ingredients.
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Stir with a spoon until there are no patches of dry ingredients, depicted in the picture above. Be sure to scratch the bottom of the bowl so no flour is hiding. It will be pretty bumpy and chunky, this is how we want it! Let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. I'm not sure why. But why mess with a good thing? Preheat oven to 350.
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Pour the batter into a buttered 9 X 13 X 2 inch baking pan. (Read that sentence aloud. Be sure to pronounce the "X" as "by." So many plosives! ) Smooth out the batter, and cook for 30 minutes. No more, no less. At least if you live in the midwest and have the same oven as I do. Otherwise, give yourself 30-35 minutes. It is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
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Let cool and cut into 24 squares, that's at least 4 days worth! Add this recipe to your Thanksgiving Feast this year! I use it for stuffing, but it would also be great instead of a regular old roll. Please, please try it. You'll never be the same!

Simple Corn Bread
adapted from "Barefoot Contessa at Home"

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tblspns baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups whole milk
3 eggs
2 sticks unsalted butter, plus some to grease the pan

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs and add milk.
Melt the butter. Stir the butter into the milk and eggs. 
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour batter into greased 9 X 13 X 2 inch baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool and cut into 24 squares.
 


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