Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Cleo Coyle's Cornbread with a Twist + Book and Tote #Giveaway News

On most mornings, my writer's work table
doubles as my breakfast table!

Here in New York, the beloved toasted corn muffin, slathered with butter, has been a classic morning nosh at diners and delis for decades. Maybe that's why I prefer to eat my cornbread as a breakfast food or an afternoon coffee-break cake.

I know many of you don't see it that way. For you, cornbread is strictly a dinner item, served as a savory side with ribs or chicken. You might add corn kernels or chopped jalapeños to your batter but never sugar. 

To you I say, keep an open mind... :)

  A Recipe Note from Cleo
Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

If you’re no fan of dry, grainy cornbread, this may be the recipe for you, with or without the sugar. The crumb is tender and tasty (more cake-like). The sour cream is my secret, along with my (subjectively favorite) ratio of flour to cornmeal.

I sometimes cut calories by using low fat milk and reduced fat sour cream; and I sometimes increase the fiber and nutrition by using white whole wheat flour (more on that below).

This sweet cornbread is delicious plain, slathered with butter, or even drizzled with orange blossom honey. And speaking of a slight note of citrus, that's one twist I enjoy giving to my breakfast corn bread. 

With a bounty of beautiful oranges cheering up our winter produce aisles, I like to add a little orange zest to my morning cornbread at this time of year. The light orange fragrance in the warm, sweet bread starts off my winter day just right. If you’re not a fan of oranges, leave it out. But it you are, you may enjoy it as much as I do. 


This is a peak time for California and Florida oranges. They're a great source of vitamins and with winter taxing our systems, they’re also a good immune booster. So enjoy some oranges with your cornbread and coffee!

My note on "white whole wheat" flour…

This lighter type of whole wheat flour gives you the fiber and nutritional benefits of whole grain but with a taste and texture closer to white flour. You can substitute "white whole wheat flour" for all-purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio. While this won’t work in an angel food cake or puff pastry, you can get good results using it in cookies, muffins, brownies, quick breads, and yeast breads. Learn more from King Arthur flour by clicking here

To download a free PDF of
this recipe that you can
print, save, or share,
click here.

Click for the free recipe PDF

Cleo Coyle's
Cornbread with a Twist

Makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan of cornbread
(This recipe will also work in a 7 x 11-inch pan.)


1 large egg
1/2 cup milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
1/2 cup sour cream (regular or low fat)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola (or vegetable) oil
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for more fiber and nutrition I often use
          “white whole wheat flour,” more info on this above)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
(optional) 1 tablespoon orange zest (grated orange peel, no white pith)

CLEO NOTE: If you've never "zested" an orange, lemon or lime, Chef Gordon Ramsay will show you how in the video below... 

If you don't see a video below, click here to watch it.


Although I have a boxed grater like Chef Ramsay's, I find a microplane grater/zester makes zesting citrus fruits even easier and well worth the small investment. To see the microplane tool (and/or purchase one for yourself), click here. 

To see an example of a microplane grater used in a recipe, jump to my Lime Meltaway Cookies post by clicking here or on the photo below...

Cleo Coyle's
Cornbread with a Twist

(See Ingredients above)


One bowl mixing method: First preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg, milk, sour cream, sugar, salt, and oil. 

When the mixture is well blended and the sour cream smoothly incorporated, measure in the flour and cornmeal. Evenly sprinkle over the baking powder and soda. If using, add orange zest now. 

Switching to a spoon or spatula, mix to create a lumpy batter. Do not over-mix or you’ll develop the gluten in the flour and your cornbread will be tough instead of tender. 

Prep an 8- or 9-inch square pan by coating with 
non-stick spray (or buttering and dusting with flour). 

Pour batter into pan and 
spread into an even layer.

Bake in preheated oven
for about 25 minutes. 

When a toothpick inserted in the center 
comes out clean, remove from oven. 

Cool, cut, and... 

Eat (and read) with joy!   

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
The Coffeehouse Mysteries &
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is us >> Alice and Marc.
Together we write as Cleo Coyle

Friend us on Facebook here.
Follow us on Twitter here.
Visit our online coffeehouse here

Just Released!

Our NEW Coffeehouse Mystery!

Learn more or buy at:

 Amazon * B&N

Indie * 



New Updated Version!

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark 
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
18 titles includes the added bonus of recipes.

Click for Cleo's Free Checklist of
Coffeehouse Books in Order


Don't miss Cleo's Book & Tote
Giveaway in her New Year's

CLICK HERE to sign up and you'll
receive a link to Cleo's newsletter
in an auto-reply. Info on this
giveaway is in the newsletter.


Good luck! ~ Cleo 


  1. Nice recipe will have to try. Had never thought to use zest or sour cream. when the kids were little I used a can of fruit cocktail instead of the liquid. They loved it. I always made to batches because the fruit mix did not appeal at all. Love corn bread. I was gifted with a pink and a blue cornmeal. Two lbs each. I do prefer the yellow. It's more aesthetically pleasing. Gave the blue one a try. Not much difference in taste. But when cooked it is dark, perfect for halloween. Do enjoy your Coffeehouse books. quite engaging. bessdee

  2. I spent much of my life in the New York area. It wasn't until I moved away that I began to understand that "NY food", like toasted corn muffins, Taylor pork roll, egg cream, bagels, were very geographically specific.

    Thanks for this temptation.

  3. Love ❤️ your books & your recipes are great. Keep both coming..as I can hardly wait for the next book!

  4. I love that this recipe is different and the sour cream makes it moist. I haven't been a fan of cornbread and have tried my best to get used to it, as my sister loves it. This may be the recipe to help me out.

  5. Not entering. I just want to say I loved this book! I love all of your books! I will have to try this recipe. It looks delicious! Thank you for sharing!

  6. I have never had cornbread for breakfast nor have I had orange flavored cornbread but it sounds wonderful. And, easy enough for a lazy cook like me. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  7. Yum, I love cornbread any way and any time. Thanks for the tip about adding zest, and for reminding me to add white whole wheat flour to my list!

  8. Your recipe sounds so good. I will try next time I make cornbread. Thank you.

  9. I could almost smell the citrus it sounds so delicious. Thank you for the tip.