Several years ago, blogger Abby Dodge hosted a monthly “bake together” event. It was a fun way for bloggers to get together virtually and do a little baking. I resisted taking part for a long time because baking is simply not my strong suit. It’s not that I can’t bake, I just don’t generally enjoy it. Baking requires a lot of precision. Measurements need to be exact. Cooking times must be closely followed. And, well, I find that the older I get the less patience I have for those kinds of things.
But then one month, I saw that the “bake together” was corn muffins. Well, how’s a southern girl to resist that I ask you? Like any Southerner worth her salt, I was raised on a steady diet of cornbread in one form or another. So I decided that was the time to go ahead and take the bake together challenge.
Participants were given two options – one sweet and one savory. That choice was easy enough since I’ve always been firmly in the no-sugar-in-the-cornbread camp. Savory it would be, but how to put my own spin on a classic corn muffin and make it distinctly southern? I mulled over that for a while and then it suddenly occurred to me to combine two southern classics – corn sticks and pimiento cheese. Can’t get much more southern than that, can you?
Now corn stick pans are a standard feature in most Southern kitchens, but if you don’t have one, you can make these as muffins or even put the entire batter in a small cast iron skillet and make a little round of corn bread. Your choice.Pimiento Cheese Corn Sticks combine a classic cornbread recipe with sharp cheddar and pimiento. Click To Tweet
To get started, place your corn stick pan on a baking sheet and coat it heavily with cooking spray. Or alternately, brush the corn stick pan heavily with peanut oil. Place the baking sheet and greased pan in the oven. Turn the oven on to 400 degrees and allow the pan to heat along with the oven.
Meanwhile, whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk, egg, and canola oil. Add to the dry ingredients along with the cheese and pimiento. As you can see in the photo, I forget the black pepper in the dry ingredients. And black pepper should be included in this recipe because it’s very important to the taste of authentic pimiento cheese.
Mix gently but thoroughly to combine all ingredients.
When the oven has reached 400 degrees, carefully remove the baking sheet with the corn stick pan and fill each indentation to the top with the mixture. Return to the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until corn sticks test done with a toothpick inserted near the center.
Immediately remove the corn sticks from the pan, invert and allow to cool briefly. The easiest way to remove the corn sticks is by using a fork to go around the side and gently nudge the corn stick away from the pan. Then simply flip it over. Easier for me than trying to invert that heavy, very hot cast iron pan.
Repeat with any remaining batter. Makes about 10 corn sticks.