Make cornbread:
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients.

  • With a hand mixer or a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the dry ingredients, and blend at medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer's speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, until just blended. Slowly add the buttermilk and blend evenly.

  • Pour the batter into the pan, and bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let bread cool then divide in half.

Make bites:
  • Crumble the cornbread half in an even layer onto a baking sheet (reserve the remaining cornbread for another use). Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and coat another baking sheet with cooking spray.

  • In a small pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 1 minute more. Set aside.

  • In food processor, pulse the beans, rice, and cilantro until well blended. Add the egg, pulse, then add the cooked onion mixture, along with 2 cups of the crumbled cornbread; pulse until evenly combined.

  • Form the mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll each in the remaining cornbread crumbs to coat, and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Instructions Checklist
Instructions Checklist
Make dipping sauce:
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the dipping sauce ingredients. Serve the black-bean bites warm, with the sauce on the side.