June 19, 2014 at 1:00 am

4 variations on classic cornbread

An all-American side dish, cornbread is delicious plain or with mix-ins. (Con Poulos)

Turn dinner into something special with this all-American accompaniment. It’s delicious plain or with one of our savory mix-ins. Each cornbread makes 8 servings.

Classic Cornbread

This cornbread strikes the right balance between tender and crumbly. To use it in a stuffing, reduce the sugar to 2 tablespoons.

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for baking pan
1 ½ cups yellow or white cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
6 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk and eggs. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until combined (do not over-mix). Transfer batter to pan and smooth top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, about 15 minutes, before serving.

Per serving: 329 calories; 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat; 38 percent calories from fat); 44 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 2 g fiber.

Bacon-Scallion Cornbread

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for baking pan
1 ½ cups yellow or white cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
6 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
¾ pound bacon
¾ cup chopped scallions

Cook bacon until crisp. Drain, let cool, then finely dice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk and eggs. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until combined (do not over-mix). Stir bacon and scallions into batter. Transfer batter to pan and smooth top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, about 15 minutes, before serving.

Per serving: 562 calories; 32 g fat (14 g saturated fat; 51 percent calories from fat); 45 g carbohydrates; 23 g protein; 2 g fiber.

Cheddar-Jalapeño Cornbread

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for baking pan
1 ½ cups yellow or white cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
6 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
½teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar
¾ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
13 cup chopped drained pickled jalapeños

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk and eggs. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until combined (do not over-mix). Stir 1 ¼ cups grated cheddar, corn kernels and jalapeños into batter. Transfer batter to pan and smooth top. Top with ¼ cup grated cheddar.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, about 15 minutes, before serving.

Per serving: 415 calories; 20 g fat (12 g saturated fat; 43 percent calories from fat); 47 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein; 2 g fiber.

Herbed Cornbread

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for baking pan
1 ½ cups yellow or white cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
6 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk and eggs. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until combined (do not over-mix). Stir chives, parsley and thyme into batter. Transfer batter to pan and smooth top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, about 15 minutes, before serving.

Per serving: 331 calories; 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat; 38 percent calories from fat); 44 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 2 g fiber.

everydayfood@marthastewart.com