So Winter hasn’t given up yet around here! Over the past weekend there were frost warnings and forecasts of snow out in the mountains. Not that I’m complaining…I’d rather keep things on the cool side rather than move right into the hot, muggy unpleasantness that is often a Virginia summer. With the chilly weather, I decided to make up a big ole pot of chili, White Chicken Chili to be exact. And what goes better with chili? A big ole pint of beer? Well, yes. Beer is good. But how about a big ole hunk of cornbread slathered with butter! Now you’re talking!
The Husband and I love cornbread. And I’ve posted quite a few recipes in the past. But I gotta say – I think we’ve found a new favorite: Skillet Cornbread. This cornbread has it all! It is moist. It is buttery. It has crispy crunchy edges. And it is not too sweet. A little brown sugar and a bit of honey gives it just the right amount of sweetness.
I’ve always thought that Northern Cornbread was sweeter than Southern Cornbread. When I did a bit of snooping around online, I found out that I had stumbled into a raging debate. A lot of folks out there have some definite ideas about that topic and can get downright prickly over it with statements such as “If God had wanted sugar in cornbread he would have called it cake”. Hmmm…
There is no doubt that cornbread is associated with the South. This is likely due to the fact that cornbread was the bread that was eaten there daily from colonial times up to the 20th Century. As it turns out, corn was the South’s main crop. Wheat tended not to do so well in the heat & humidity there. So although I know Buttermilk Biscuits are also considered a Southern thing, in the past they were only baked for special occasions or maybe for Sunday dinner. Folk’s daily bread was cornbread.
I was fascinated to discover that back in the day, the type of corn predominantly grown in the South was a white corn. This corn was left in the fields to ripen completely and then taken to a water mill to be stone ground. Eventually, with industrialization, these stone mills were replaced by steel roller mills. This type of mill took away much of the corn kernel and thereby the flavor. Furthermore, these roller mills preferred to use unripened yellow corn, which was not as sweet. In order to get that sweet flavor back in their cornbread, guess what folks added – you got it, sugar.
So, this recipe does have a little bit of sugar in it, but not so much sugar that you are going to be thinking you are eating a cake. But I think the thing that really makes this cornbread so spectacular is that it is cooked in a blazing hot cast iron skillet. Pouring the batter into that hot skillet sears the edges and caramelizes the sugar in the batter to give you that scrumptiously crunchy crust, while keeping the middle nice and tender and moist.
Yum, yum and yum! Whether you’re from the North, or the South or any other place, you are going to agree, this is some super tasty, buttery delicious cornbread! Pull out your cast iron skillets and bake a batch of this cornbread today!
recipe from: Sally’s Baking Addiction
- 1 cup (120grams) cornmeal
- 1 cup (125grams) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115grams) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/3 cup (67grams) packed light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) honey
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons minced jalapeño peppers (optional – you could also throw in some cheese or bacon or even dried cranberries – or leave it plain, your choice)
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
- Maldon flaky sea salt to sprinkle over top
Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Grease a 9″-10″ cast iron skillet. Set aside.
Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and honey together until completely smooth and thick. Then, whisk in the egg until combined. Finally, add in the buttermilk and mix to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the jalapeños if you are using them and whisk until just combined. Take care not to over mix, or beat the batter or the cornbread will be tough.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and the center is cooked through. Use a toothpick to test. Edges should be crispy at this point.
Paint melted butter over the top of the cornbread and sprinkle with a bit of flaky Maldon sea salt.
Allow to slightly cool before slicing and serving. Serve cornbread with butter, honey, jam, or whatever you like.
Wrap leftovers up tightly and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Skillet Cornbread brought to you today by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
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