OK, I know there are squillions of corn bread recipes out there. Everybody has favorites. But I'm going to tell you straight up - this is the best cornbread I've ever had.
Apparently there are two types of cornbread - Northern and Southern. Correct me if I'm wrong but I've done extensive research and have consulted many experts at the National Cornbread Institute - ok that's not really true but you should trust me anyway.
Southern cornbread is heavier, denser, uses more cornmeal than flour (or equal amounts) and is better for soaking up things like BBQ juices or maple syrup.
Northern cornbread is lighter and fluffier - it's more tender and sweet with a cake-like consistency.
Can you guess which one I like best? Yes, northern it is.
Many years ago I happened upon a recipe for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. It was in a magazine and looked amazingly yummy and different because the pork was piled up on pieces of cornbread. You had to eat it with a knife and fork.
As often happens when I'm hungry and at the same time looking through food magazines, I began drooling and planning to make EVERY SINGLE THING IN THE MAGAZINE. You already knew I had a problem with self control. Be quiet. You love me anyway.
So I made the sandwiches. Result? BBQ pork - mediocre. Cornbread - AWESOME. I had found the perfect cornbread without even trying! See usually I go on the equivalent of a knight's quest when I try for the perfect whatever. This one dropped on me like manna from heaven.
Yes folks, today's cornbread is my gift to you and I have a helper ready to . . . uh . . help me.
Hi Daniel! Want to help me make some cornbread? You are the perfect child for this task because you LOVE cornbread. You can eat your BODY WEIGHT in cornbread. Besides, it's time you started earning your keep around here. Making cornbread will be a good start.
Kids these days. Do we REALLY want to know what's going on in their heads?
Start by measuring out a cup of buttermilk. Here's a tip - if you don't have buttermilk, put a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to equal 1 cup. Let it stand for a few minutes then stir.
I used to do this frequently because I'd have a spontaneous desire to make cornbread or biscuits - but had no buttermilk. This substitute is OK but personally, I think you get a better product if you use buttermilk. That being my expert opinion and all.
Any day now, America's Test Kitchen is going to call me and ask my opinion about something and I'LL BE READY, MAN.
Slice up a stick of softened butter and drop it into the buttermilk. Microwave until most of the butter is melted. If there are still some small chunks of butter, that's OK because they will eventually melt in the warm milk. You don't want it to get too hot - it will have to cool a bit before you add 1 egg.
Break one egg into a bowl . . .
. . . and scramble it up. This is a favored Kitchen Helper job - breaking eggs. Separating eggs, well, that's on the horizon. The very distant and far-away horizon.
Add the beaten egg to the buttermilk and stir it up.
While the milk/butter is warming and/or cooling, mix up the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. You'll need:
1 c. flour
2/3 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
Whisk it all together to break up any chunks of baking soda because biting into a yummy piece of corn bread and encountering an undissolved chunk of baking soda is just GROSS.
I speak from personal experience.
At this point you can add stuff in. Duane and I love chopped chilies, jalapenos and corn in the cornbread but the kids don't like it. Losers. You can also lightly saute some chopped onion or chopped bell peppers (red or green) and add that to the batter. It would taste good and add some great color to the corn bread.
Add these things to the dry ingredients and toss to combine. I prefer to add them at this step because they don't all sink to the bottom of the bread while baking. My expert opinion again.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine.
Pour the batter into a greased, 8x8 glass pan.
Bake 30 -35 minutes at 350F.
It should be golden brown around the edges and a tester should come out clean.
My little Master of the Universe prefers his cornbread drenched in honey. Duane taught all the kids to drizzle it on and let it soak in until it's at perfect eating capacity. We are cornbread eating experts in this house.
(Click here for printable.)