by Gale Compton
Old-Fashioned Cornbread is a simple quick bread recipe- it’s made without yeast but with baking powder as a leavener, and rises while baking.
Cornbread is often said to originate in the southeast with the Native Americans, but southwestern Native Americans had their own versions as well. We love using the skillet, it’s the real southern traditional way and iron skillets hold and disperse heat evenly, ideal for a cornbread that is moist all the way through.
Honey adds that touch of sweetness that we come to expect in cornbread. If you like a bit of spiciness in your cornbread, honey will work with either of these spicy additions to make a southwestern- peppery style cornbread: finely chopped jalapenos (remove the seeds of course), 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotles with adobo sauce.
Other savory ingredient mix-ins? Finely sliced scallions can be added to the batter, along with a good quality reduced fat cheddar cheese. Add the cheese, grated, as a melted topping in the last 5 minutes of cooking time, or fold the shredded cheddar into the batter to flavor the bread.
Nitrate-free ham or nitrate-free turkey bacon also make good mix-ins for cornbread. Crumbled bacon can be stirred in or scattered over the top before baking. 1 cup of whole corn kernals can be added into the bread for extra corn flavor and texture. Use thawed corn kernals or, if corncobs are sweet and ripe, fresh kernels cut straight from the cob. Alternatively, corn can be lightly sauteed over medium heat in olive oil for a few minutes and, once it has softened slightly, added in.
And what about cornbread for breakfast? Crumble and add our turkey breakfast sausage and add maple syrup in place of the honey. 2 tablespoons of maple syrup may be added for a sweeter cornbread.
For sweet breakfast muffins, fold in 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries and pour into greased/papered muffin tins. Or, add the zest of one orange with one cup of cranberries (fresh or thawed). See the first two methods here for how to zest an orange in baking. You can bake this as a breakfast bread in the skillet, a baking pan, or loaf pan instead of a muffin tin.
A last note on ingredients: If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, an easy buttermilk substitute for this cornbread recipe is 1-3/4 cups low fat milk (1 percent will work) mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. It should curdle a bit when whisked together.
Old-fashioned cornbread is often served as a side for southwestern and southeastern meals. Some such recipes are:
Servings: 12 | Serving Size: 1 Slice | Calories: 144 | Previous Points: 3 | Points Plus: 4 | Total Fat: 4 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 19 mg | Sodium: 251 mg | Carbohydrates: 24 g | Dietary Fiber: 1 g | Sugars: 4 g | Protein: 4 g
- 2 cups Corn Meal, (I used Hodgson Mill yellow cornmeal) yellow or white corn meal will work
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1 3/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add canola oil to a 8" cast iron skillet or square baking pan. Ensure oil is rubbed on sides as well as bottom of skillet. While preparing cornbread, place skillet with oil in the oven for 5 - 7 minutes.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl. In a small bowl whisk together honey, buttermilk and egg, add to dry ingredients and stir just to combine.
Note: If using cornbread for stuffing, allow to cool completely before making into bread crumbs. This recipe makes 6-7 cups of cornbread crumbs.
Remove skillet from oven and pour hot oil in cornbread mixture, stir. Sprinkle the bottom of the skillet with 1 teaspoon of cornmeal. Pour cornmeal mixture in the skillet, place in the oven on middle rack and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden in color.