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Cornbread

Originally posted: 02/01/2002
Last updated: 02/21/2014

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Cast iron skillet of Bacon Cheddar Cornbread
Cast iron skillet of Bacon Cheddar Cornbread
 
Slice of Sour Cream Cornbread
Slice of Sour Cream Cornbread
 

Caring For Cast IronCornbread is one of those foods that just seems to go well with barbecue. Here are a few recipes for moist, flavorful cornbread that I hope you will enjoy.

Some of these recipes call for self-rising corn meal mix, a mixture of corn meal, flour, leavening, and salt. I used Martha White Self-Rising Yellow Corn Meal Mix in these recipes, which I purchased during a visit to Michigan. You'll have no problem finding such a product if you live in the Midwest or the South. If you live anywhere else, you'll have to mix your own using the recipe at the end of this page.

By the way, a cast iron skillet really makes a difference in the way cornbread turns out, so dig Grandma's skillet out of the back of the kitchen cabinet for these recipes.

As always...click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.


Sour Cream Cornbread

This recipe comes from the book CookWise by Shirley O. Corriher. Shirley says there are many variations on this Southern recipe, which uses sour cream, creamed corn and quite a bit of oil to make a very moist cornbread.

Ingredients List
3 large eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups canned creamed corn
1-1/2 cups (14 oz) sour cream
3/4 cup corn oil
1-1/2 cups yellow self-rising corn meal mix, slightly packed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Nonstick cooking spray
3 Tablespoons melted butter
You can substitute canola or vegetable oil, but I think it makes sense to use corn oil when making cornbread if you can.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs slightly. Stir in the sour cream, creamed corn, and oil, then add the corn meal mix, salt, and baking powder. Stir well to combine the ingredients.

Spray a 10" cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray and pour in the batter. Heat the skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat for 1 minute, then place into the upper third of the oven. Immediately reduce the oven to 375°F and bake 35-40 minutes.

To finish, turn on the broiler and brown the top of the cornbread for about 1 minute. Don't walk away during the browning process, as the cornbread can burn quickly. Brush the top with the melted butter and enjoy!

Bacon Cheddar Cornbread

This recipe uses creamed corn, milk, and sharp cheddar cheese for moisture, and crumbled bacon for texture and flavor. It's a cross between several recipes I found on the Martha White website and the Martha White Yellow Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix package.

Ingredients List
2 large eggs, beaten
1 14-1/2 oz. can creamed corn
2 cups yellow self-rising corn meal mix, slightly packed
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons sugar
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 slices bacon
4 Tablespoons bacon drippings
Corn, canola, or vegetable oil can be substituted for bacon drippings...but why?

Cut the bacon into 3/4" x 3/4" pieces and cook in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Drain the bacon on paper towels and reserve the drippings for use in the batter. If you intend to use this same pan for baking the cornbread, wash it first—the cornbread will stick to the bottom of the pan if you don't.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a 10" cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle the bacon evenly in the bottom of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs slightly. Add all the ingredients and stir well to combine. Pour the batter into the skillet, then heat the skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Place into the upper third of the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375°F. Bake for 35-40 minutes until just slightly brown on top and around the edges.

To finish, turn on the broiler and brown the top of the cornbread for about 1 minute. Don't walk away during the browning process, as the cornbread can burn quickly. You can see that mine started to burn just a bit in the picture above, but it tasted fine.

Brush the top with melted butter for a glistening finish.

For a Tex-Mex variation on this recipe, delete the bacon and add 2 Tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers and 2 Tablespoons chopped green chiles to the mix. If you don't want chunks of green stuff in your cornbread but want to add a little heat, stir a dash of cayenne pepper into the batter.

Keri's Blue Ribbon Cornbread

Keri Cathey has graciously shared her 1st place cornbread recipe from the 2002 Oklahoma State Fair with readers of The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board.

Ingredients List
1-1/2 cups plain cornmeal (not cornmeal mix or self-rising)
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder (preferably Rumford)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar (up to 1/2 cup)
1-1/4 cup milk (fat-free works fine)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (can cut to 1/3 cup, if desired)
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400°F, placing pans in the oven while it heats. Keri uses a total of 4 pans: 3 cast iron cornstick pans, 1 cast aluminum cornstick pan, and 1 non-stick scone pan.

Blend dry ingredients in a large bowl. Blend milk, oil, and eggs in another bowl, then add to the dry ingredients. Blend until all is combined.

Remove hot pans from the oven one at a time and slip a small amount of Crisco or bacon drippings (about 1/4 teaspoon) into each stick form, brushing it to cover all surfaces well. Place pans back in the oven for a few minutes—you want them to be very hot.

Remove hot pan from the oven, set on a heat-proof surface, and using a Tablespoon from your silverware drawer, put a generous spoonful of batter into each form. You should have enough batter for 24 cornsticks and 8 thin crusty wedges.

Bake at 400°F until golden brown on the tops, about 15 minutes for the sticks and about 20 minutes for the wedges.

To remove cornbread from the pan, gently ease the tines of a fork under the edges of the cornstick and carefully pry up. If the pan was preheated and greased well, it should pop right out.

If you prefer, bake the whole recipe in a 9-inch cast iron skillet for about 30 minutes and cut into wedges to serve, or use a 13x9 pan and cut into squares.

Keri does not recommend baking multiple batches with a single cornstick pan. When the pan cools between batches, it stands more of a chance of sticking. She suggests filling a single heated cornstick pan and putting the rest of the batter in a heated cast iron skillet.

Serve with pinto beans and fried taters, BBQ, or with just a cold glass of sweet milk.

Honey Butter

All of the cornbread recipes described above are moist and delicious right out of the skillet. However, some folks like to use honey butter as a finishing touch on top. Mix together a 2:1 ratio of softened salted butter and your favorite honey, for example 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter to 1/4 cup honey. Splurge a little on a single flower honey for best taste.

Make Your Own Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix

If you can't find self-rising corn meal mix at your supermarket, just mix up a batch using this recipe from Aunt Jemima Corn Meal.

Ingredients List
1 cup corn meal
3 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine ingredients thoroughly.

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