Kid-friendly Island Festival Cornbread Bites Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Island Festival Cornbread Bites

Recipe: Island Festival Cornbread Bites

Island Festival Cornbread Bites

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by bonchan/
prep time
5 minutes
cook time
10 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Island Festival Cornbread Bites

“Festivals,” aka cornbread dumplings, are aptly named—pair them with a robust stew and enjoy a big party in your mouth!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • bake :

    to cook food with dry heat, as in an oven.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • scoop :

    to pick up an amount of food with a utensil to move it to a dish, pan, or container; utensils that can be used to scoop are spoons, dishers (small scoops used for cookie dough or melon balls), ice cream scoops, or large transfer scoops for bulk foods.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Muffin pan
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Dry measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk


Island Festival Cornbread Bites

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 1/2 C fine cornmeal
  • 1/3 C granulated or brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C water + up to an extra 1/4 C if batter is too dry
  • 1 T vegetable oil for greasing the pan or paper cupcake liners

Food Allergen Substitutions

Island Festival Cornbread Bites

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour.


Island Festival Cornbread Bites


A Festival isn’t just another word for a party; it’s also a delicious cornbread-like snack. Festivals are very popular in Jamaican cuisine. Combine the Island Festival Cornbread Bites with Cajun "Étouffée" Stew (see recipe) for a fusion of two cultures in one meal.

preheat + measure

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Then, measure and combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl.

whisk + add + whisk some more

Whisk all the ingredients together thoroughly. Whisking will remove any lumps and add a little air to mix. This will make for a fluffier festival later. Add 3/4 cup of water to the mixture and give it some more whisks until you have a smooth batter. If the batter seems too dry, add up to an extra 1/4 cup of water.

grease + scoop

Grease the wells of the muffin pan with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, or use paper cupcake liners, and scoop 2 tablespoons of the batter into each well.

bake + cool

Place the muffin pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Remove the festival bites from the oven and cool for a few minutes before serving.

serve + enjoy

Dunk the festival bites into Cajun "Étouffée" Stew (see recipe) or another stew or soup and enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Cornmeal!

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Photo by Natalia Bostan/

Hi! I'm Cornmeal!

"I'm made from ground corn—either yellow, white, or blue! I can be coarse, fine, or somewhere in-between. Did you know that I'm in some of your favorite foods, like tacos, tamales, tortilla chips, corn puffs, and cornbread?!" 

  • Cornmeal is a coarse flour or meal made from grinding corn. Native Americans first ground corn in the Americas a few thousand years ago. 
  • The most common variety of cornmeal in the US is steel-ground yellow cornmeal, which is ground between steel rollers, and the germ and hull (or husk) are removed during the process. The cornmeal may be enriched to return nutrients to it. Because the germ has been removed, which contains the fat, steel-ground cornmeal will not spoil as quickly as other types if kept cool and dry in an airtight container. 
  • Other types of cornmeal include white cornmeal (from more delicately flavored white corn), blue cornmeal (from blue corn), and stone-ground cornmeal (ground between two stones, a coarser grain, and retains some of the germ and the husk). 
  • The size of the grind will determine how much liquid the cornmeal will absorb. The finer the grind, the more absorbent it is.
  • Cornmeal can be used to make cornbread, batters for fried foods (like corn dogs), corn fritters, and hushpuppies. Cheetos are even made from cornmeal that has had the germ removed and been enriched with nutrients.
  • Grits is a porridge made from boiled white cornmeal that originated in the Southern United States. In Northern Italy, boiled yellow cornmeal called polenta is popular. 
  • If corn is ground very fine, it is called corn flour. Masa harina or masa is finely ground corn that has been soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, such as limewater. Masa is used to make corn tortillas, arepas, and tamales. 
  • Whole-grain cornmeal, such as the stone-ground type, is a good source of fiber and protein. 
  • Cornmeal does not contain gluten, but due to its coarseness, you can only use it in a limited way to replace wheat flour in some recipes.

Let's Learn About Jamaica!

Photo by LBSimms Photography/
  • Jamaica is an island nation in the Caribbean, just south of Cuba and West of Haiti. The capital and largest city is Kingston.
  • Jamaica is 4,244 square miles in size, and its population in 2018 was over 2.7 million. That is a little smaller than the state of Connecticut with about 1 million less people.
  • The currency is the Jamaican dollar. The official language is English, but Jamaica's primary and de facto national language is Jamaican Patois (PATwa), an English-based creole.
  • Spain claimed Jamaica after Spanish explorers landed in 1494; however, in 1655, it became an English colony before gaining its independence in 1962.
  • The original inhabitants of Jamaica were the Arawak people. The Arawak grew corn and yams. Today, none of the crops grown in Jamaica are native to the island, including sugar cane, bananas, and mangoes. Bamboo, coconut palms, and breadfruit were also imported to the island.
  • Jamaica's climate is tropical. It can be hot and humid and prone to damage caused by hurricanes.
  • The Blue Mountain range is the longest in Jamaica, and Blue Mountain Peak, at 7,402 feet, is the highest spot on the island.
  • Jamaica has eight native snake species, but none are venomous.
  • In Jamaica, as in England, they drive on the left-hand side of the road.
  • Reggae music originated in Jamaica, home of well-known musician Bob Marley.
  • Over one million tourists visit Jamaica every year.
  • Jamaica produces many talented athletes, especially in track and field, where runners Usain Bolt, Johan Blake, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce have excelled.
  • In 1988, Jamaica became the first tropical country to enter a Winter Olympic event. It was the four-man bobsled event. 
  • The biggest and the tiniest butterflies found in the New World are in Jamaica: the Homerus Swallowtail and the Pygmy Blue.
  • Pimento trees, which grow in Jamaica, produce allspice. The name "allspice" originated from the popular notion that the pimento berry contains the characteristic flavor and aroma of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and pepper, all combined in one spice. Jamaican allspice is of the highest quality, and the country is the largest allspice exporter worldwide. 
  • Jamaican cuisine uses a local spice mixture that has become famous, Jamaican jerk spice. It includes ground allspice and Scotch bonnet chili peppers. You can use it as a spice rub or in a marinade for meat, especially chicken or pork. Like many Caribbean countries, the cuisines of several countries influenced Jamaican foods over the years, such as African, Spanish, Portuguese, Cornish, Chinese, and East Indian.

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Jamaica?

  • Kids go to school from 8 am to 2 or 2:30 pm. School is taught in English in Jamaican schools. After six years of primary school (grades 1-6), students go on to Lower School (junior high) for three years and then to Upper School (senior high) for three years. Uniforms are the required dress code.
  • Jamaican kids participate in sports like football (soccer), track and field, cricket, tennis, netball, and basketball. They may play a game called "Dandy Shandy" that is similar to dodgeball. "Bull Inna Pen" is a game with children playing the parts of the bull, the mother hen, or the chicks she protects from the bull.
  • Kids may eat "ackee and saltfish" (fruit and codfish) for breakfast, along with boiled green bananas and fried dumplings. Ackee is the national fruit used more like a starch or veggie, and "ackee and saltfish" is considered the Jamaican national dish. 
  • At Christmastime, due to British influence, families may serve "black cake" or Christmas pudding. Other popular treats are the Jamaican spiced bun; "gizzada," a tart filled with sweet, spicy coconut; "coconut drops," a toffee-like sweet made with coconut chunks and sugar; and a coconut and ginger candy called "busta."

That's Berry Funny

What is the most mythical vegetable?

The uni-CORN.

That's Berry Funny

What did the yeast say to the bag of flour? 

Come on! We knead to be serious!

The Yolk's On You

Why shouldn’t you tell a secret on a farm? 

Because the corn has ears and the potatoes have eyes.

THYME for a Laugh

Why didn't anyone laugh at the gardener's jokes?

Because they were too corny!

That's Berry Funny

What do bakers give their moms on Mother's Day? 


The Yolk's On You

What do you get when a corn cob is run over by a truck? 

"Creamed" corn.

That's Berry Funny

What do corn cobs call their fathers?

Pop corn.

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