This recipe has been a favorite of mine for years. I blogged it a long time ago, but the pictures turned out terrible because I was a newbie. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about food photography and my camera. I’ve also refreshed the recipe with “healthier ingredients,” but I am putting that version in a separate post. If you’re a health nut, you can find the recipe here (COMING SOON).
Battle the Oven
We just moved to a new place and it came with an electric range. I can’t say I’m overjoyed. Electric ovens are notorious for uneven temperatures and mine is no exception. I’ve been fighting it from day one. One way to deal with this issue is to put an oven thermometer like this one inside. When the oven finishes preheating, I check this thermometer to find out if my stove is lying to me. Then I adjust the heat up or down to get where I need to go.
As such, I got started on this cornbread recipe by setting my oven temperature to 400 degrees. Once the preheat cycle finished, the oven thermometer said it was barely over 300 degrees inside so I left the oven to sit for a few minutes while I prepared the cornbread batter … and cleaned up my messes … and took pictures of this yummy looking Chocolate Pumpkin Bread (RECIPE COMING SOON) I’d made earlier. Eventually, the oven did reach 350 degrees.
About the butter. I’ve used real butter and I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. There is no difference in taste. The difference is in calorie content. A Cup of real butter contains over 1600 calories. I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter contains only 960 calories. If you’re really gung-ho about saving on those calories, go with a cup of pureed avocado. That contains only 368 calories!
You’ll also need sweetener. I used good-old-fashioned table sugar for this recipe.
Eggs. I’ve used four whole eggs in the past. Recently I’ve started using one cup of egg whites. Just add a teaspoon of baking powder if you decide to go this route. If you don’t, the cornbread may not rise as well.
Buttermilk. There are a couple of options for this ingredient. Grocery stores carry buttermilk. I’ve taken to making a homemade buttermilk by mixing two cups of almond milk and two tablespoons of lemon juice. I just let the mixture sit for a minute or two and it curdles.
Grab the baking soda, baking powder, cornmeal, all-purpose flour and salt. Let’s get started!
Bowl One and Bowl Two
You’ll need a couple of mixing bowls for this part of the process. I’d use a large bowl for the wet ingredients and a medium bowl for the dry. If you have an electric mixer, it is definitely worth using.
Start by gently heating up the butter. Do this by either heating it on the stove top over medium heat until it melts, or popping it in the microwave for thirty seconds. If you decide to use avocado, you can skip this step. Put the melted butter or avocado in the large bowl.
Add in the eggs (or egg substitute) and the sugar.
Measure out two cups of buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup. Add the baking soda to the buttermilk, whisk it up and pour it in with the rest of the wet ingredients. TIP: If you choose to whisk it with the electric mixer, don’t get carried away or you’ll end up with splashes of buttermilk all over your kitchen floor.
Thoroughly mix the wet ingredients.
In the medium size bowl, whisk the cornmeal, all-purpose flour and salt.
While whisking the wet ingredients, slowly pour the dry mixture in and continue stirring until thoroughly combined. The electric mixer comes in handy here. The mixture thickens and it is quite difficult to hand mix and get all the lumps out. This is the electric mixer I use.
Grease the Pan and Bake It
I sprayed my 11 x 15 inch baking pan with non-stick spray, but you could grease it with butter also. I thought about flouring the pan, but I’ve made this recipe many times and there is enough oily ingredients in it that it doesn’t ever get stuck to the pan.
Pour the mixture into the glass baking dish and use a spatula to scrape the sides. Give the pan a gentle shake from side to side to even it out. Slide it into the oven somewhere in the middle. If this is your first time baking this recipe, set your timer to 20 minutes.
Once the timer beeps, poke the middle of the cornbread with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out dry, its done. If the toothpick is gooey, don’t freak out. Just add ten minutes and recheck. It can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to bake. No matter how accurate your oven temperature is, the bake time can still be effected by elevation change. For example, cook time will be different between someone at sea level and someone who lives on the side of a mountain. That’s just the way it is.
Garnish and Serve
After removing the cornbread from the oven, let it cool in the pan on a heat-safe surface. Put a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of honey in a microwave-safe container and heat about 15 seconds or until it melts. Stir the mixture up and use a baking brush to spread the honey-butter over the surface of the cornbread.
Serve the cornbread warm. I pair with my Hearty Vegetable Soup (RECIPE COMING SOON) and a green leafy side-salad.
Make sure the cornbread has completely cooled before storing in an airtight container. Storing it while warm leads to sogginess. Yuck. Alternatively, just leave it in the pan and cover loosely with a clean cloth to keep it from drying out. This recipe stays good on the counter for 4-6 days. It’s pretty easy to tell if it’s time to toss it out. Watch for mold spots.