Thursday, July 10, 2008

(Sweet) Cornbread

(Sweet) Cornbread

From Southern Living: 1987 Annual Recipes, compendium cookbook of the magazine (1987, Oxmoor House). Recipe from the September issue, submitted by Beverly Verdery, Waco, Texas.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal
5 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cornmeal, and sugar in a large bowl. Combine eggs, milk, and 1/3 cup oil in a small bowl; add to cornmeal mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon batter into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet coated with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and preheated. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 8 servings.

Personal Note: My dad likes his with a single jalapeno from our garden minced. It's okay, but to me, cornbread should be slightly sweet and taste more of corn than anything else; as a compromise, I make a full batch with the regular recipe as well as two tiny cast-iron skillets' worth with half of everything called for in the recipe, the single homegrown jalapeno, and 15 minutes of oven time. The cast-iron and the preheating are the essential pieces to this recipe. Also important if you really want the best result (though this is still tasty without it) is whole-grain cornmeal. I cringe to say this but you can usually get a bag of this stuff at "Nature's Market" type sections of your grocery store or at natural foods shops.

I originally posted this to prove to J that cornbread can be fantastically delicious; he claims most southern-style cornbread is dense, burnt, generally disgusting, flavorless, greasy, and dry. Ugh. I believe him, but he ought to try this sometime to be soothed, ha. Using the proper old-fashioned cast-iron skillet (something that will likely outlive you, that you can pass down through generations!) and the preheating step, you should find this cornbread slightly sweet, fluffy, and wonderful. It's as good as cake really but heartier and less refined-product tasting. Yum. Especially good with fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits. My mother's big addition to the sugar component may seem over the top, but I promise her alteration yields cornbread that's still just barely sweet enough, really.

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