Corn bread, corn muffins, corn cake…
Say it in your best Forrest Gump voice. Skillet corn bread.
I won’t try to tell you that I have the perfect recipe for cornbread. Mostly because I have too many recipes for cornbread. And I don’t think you should believe anyone who says they have the “best” or “perfect” anything. There’s just what you like. I would like to emphasize that this is particularly true for chocolate chip cookie recipes, but that’s not what I’m writing about today.
During the month of February, I have been reflecting on and celebrating Black History Month by cooking from Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin.
Tipton-Martin’s cookbook lists a “flight” of five cornbread recipes, including hot water cornbread, cornmeal griddle cakes, extra-light buttermilk cornbread (“light” meaning only 6 tbsp of butter?), Spanish cornbread, and spoonbread. This is just a sampling of what can be done. The cornbread chapter in Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads is 24 pages long and includes 18 different recipes.
We were invited over for an outdoor dinner last night, and I said that I would bring Tipton-Martin’s buttermilk cornbread. Rather than cook it ahead of time, I packed up containers of dry ingredients, buttermilk/eggs, and butter so that we could eat the cornbread warm from the oven.
I can’t say that I’ve ever cooked while wearing a mask before.
PROTIP: It’s not a good idea to try to lick cornbread batter off your fingers through your mask. It’s not very successful, and it’s pretty obvious to everyone else that you tried. Also, belly laughing while wearing a tight-fitting mask can lead to a temporary feeling of suffocation as you accidentally inhale your mask.
There’s not a huge amount of variation in cornbread recipes (see table). The key is to have a light touch when you are adding the wet ingredients into the dry and to not overmix.
Here are some of my other favorite corn-focused recipes for you to try. Melissa Clark’s brown butter skillet cornbread from Dinner has been our go-to recently. You could also use it to make a corn bread stuffing, if there’s any left.
Moving along the sweetness spectrum are Dorie Greenspan’s corniest corn muffins from Baking. These are super-moist and tasty, but definitely on the sweet side.
Extra-light buttermilk cornbread
Brown butter cornbread
Corniest corn muffins
|Cornmeal||1 cup||1 1/3 c||1 cup||1 cup|
|Flour||1 cup||1/2 c wheat|
1/2 c AP
|1 cup AP||1 cup AP|
|Sugar||2 tbsp||1/3c honey||1/4 cup||6 tbsp|
|Baking powder||1 tbsp||1 1/2 tbsp||4 tsp||2 1/2 tsp|
|Baking soda||1/2 tsp||1/2 tsp||1/4 tsp|
|Salt||1 tsp||1 1/2 tsp||1 tsp||1/2 tsp|
|Buttermilk||1 cup||2 1/4 c||1 cup milk||1 cup|
|Egg||1 egg||3 eggs||2 eggs||1 egg, 1 yolk|
|Butter||6 tbsp||12 tbsp||4 tbsp||3 tbsp butter|
3 tbsp corn oil
|3/4c corn||1/3 c crisp bacon||1 cup corn, pinch of nutmeg|
Even further is this corn bread with fennel, cranberries, and raisins. I made this for dinner last November during my week of Thanksgiving cookery. Even with half the butter, mr. uglyducklingbakery thought this was cake.
Finally, I want to suggest these potato-corn cakes from Sunset magazine, which are more pancake or fritter than cake.
What’s your go-to cornbread?