Our state trails only Vermont in the production of maple syrup in the U.S. I have many childhood memories of tapping our maple trees in early spring and watching the sap come out. Corn bread, or johnnycake as it's called here in scenic Mohawk Valley, was a staple of the men fighting in the Revolutionary War. The volunteers, who were known as "Johnnys", carried their rations with them, and the johnnycakes held up well for days.
It's not necessary to serve maple syrup with this moist corn bread from Dorothy Bateman of Carver, Massachusetts. The maple flavoring is baked into the loaf, providing a delicious change of pace from traditional corn bread.
I get this recipe years ago from my college roommate's mother. I've tried a lot of other corn bread recipes since, but none compares to this one—with the ham baked in, it's much more like a complete meal than simply a bread. I'm a home economics teacher, and I'm active in Future Homemakers of America, too. Besides cooking, I enjoy reading and cross-stitch.
"Central Illinois is one of the major corn and pork producing areas of the country, so why wouldn't this bread be a favorite here? asks Carol Roper of Litchfield, Illinois. She dresses up a basic batter with corn, onion and cheese, then tops it with poppy seeds and bacon.
A friend gave me this recipe several years ago, and it's my favorite. I love to serve the melt-in-your mouth corn bread hot from the oven with butter and syrup. It gets rave reviews on holidays and at potluck dinners. —Nicole Callen, Auburn, California