1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus extra softened butter for greasing pan

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 425 F. Grease a 9-inch-square, metal pan.Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Push dry ingredients up sides of bowl to form a well.

Crack the eggs into well and whisk lightly. Then whisk in the buttermilk and milk. Finally, stir wet and dry ingredients quickly together until barely combined (do not overmix). Add the melted butter, stirring just until combined (without overmixing).

Pour batter into greased pan and bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes until top is golden-brown and lightly cracked. Edges will be pulling away from sides of pan. Remove pan from oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve warm. Makes 9 servings.

CHEESE VARIATION: After adding melted butter, quickly fold in 1 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese.

CHILIES VARIATION: After adding melted butter, quickly fold in 1 small jalapeno that has been stemmed, seeded and minced. For a fiery flavor, use up to 2 jalapenos and don't leave out seeds.

BACON VARIATION: After adding melted butter, quickly fold in 1/2 cup crumbled bacon bits from 8 ounces of sliced bacon diced small, then fried in a large skillet until well-browned and crisp; drain, cool, then set aside until ready to fold into batter.

ONION VARIATION: Saute 2 cups chopped yellow onions in 1 tablespoon butter (or canola oil or bacon grease) until very soft and translucent. Let cool. When preparing cornbread, fold in after adding melted butter.

— Recipe adapted from "The Best Recipe," by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated.