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All Purpose Cornbread

Cornbread is a food that has inspired a lot of debate. Do you like the southern, unsweetened, skillet-baked version with its crispy crust? Do you prefer the high rising, soft and sweet northern-style cornbread, which is almost a sort of cake? Maybe it’s because I’m out on the coast, but I like both types of cornbread. While the lovers and the haters fight it out back east, I am content to have my own hybrid version.

My cornbread has all the elements of cornbread that I like. It has an equal ratio of cornmeal and flour, giving it both softness and texture. It has buttermilk, honey and sugar, for flavor and sweetness. Baking it at a high temperature allows the edges to develop a slight crispness, which leaves those who like a sort of crust satisfied and leaves the center to remain soft. The cornbread, while it may not be the paragon of cornbreads, will appeal to just about anyone. The perfect cornbread is probably an impossible task, since the “ideals” are at opposite ends of the spectrum, anyway.

Use this to dunk in a spicy chili or slather with butter. It is also excellent for breakfast with honey or jam. It’s quick to make, too, so you can fix it during halftime and have it ready before the fourth quarter.

Buttermilk Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup allpurpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.
Whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, beat buttermilk, egg, honey and vegetable oil until well blended. Stir in dry ingredients, mixing until no streaks remain.
Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Bake at 400F for 23-28 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the bread pulls away from the side of the dish slightly.
Serves 12.

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14 Comments
  • Fiber
    February 7, 2006

    You know, I was almost 15 before I realized that there was cornbread that WASN’T cooked in a skillet.
    I’ll have to make both side by side and see which I prefer.

  • Alanna
    February 7, 2006

    Love cornbread, especially leftover as croutons for soup! Have you by chance run across a cornbread recipe that has a pudding below (like the chocolate pudding cakes where the cake rises as the pudding settles)? I’ve got this idea in my head but can’t seem to get it to work! Alanna

  • Dawna
    February 7, 2006

    I’m with you on the hybrid of the two schools of cornbread. In fact, your recipe is quite similar to mine (I use an additional egg, no honey). I sometimes use buttermilk powder with the dry ingredients, and plain (1%) milk for the liquid, just so I’m not dependent on having buttermilk in the house any time I want cornbread.

  • Fran
    February 7, 2006

    I just love cornbread–sweet or not–anyway I can have it. Really depends on what I am serving it with as to which version I make. Will try your recipe. Thanks.

  • Anonymous
    February 7, 2006

    I love skillet cornbread.No sugar or flour in mine.My dad actually has their cornmeal ground,and it is really course.After I left home it took me quite awhile to get used to the fine store bought meal.
    Emily aka biscuits and blues

  • drbiggles
    February 7, 2006

    Don’t ya think if you were going to do a hybrid you’d at least have to put in a 1/4 cup of fresh bacon drippin’s?
    Comon, just a little lard? Please?

    Biggles

  • Ivonne
    February 7, 2006

    Thank you for the cornbread recipe, which I have been looking for awhile. This looks delicious.

    By the way, I fully support Dr. Biggles’ gratuitous use of lard!

  • Cathy
    February 7, 2006

    Hi Nic – I love cornbread! Even though I went to school in the south, I don’t think I’ve ever had any of the unsweetened variety. In fact, I didn’t realize that was typical of the south. Like you, I like equal amounts of corn meal and flour. Oddly the Quaker recipe has over the years gone in the direction of more flour – seems like if you’re selling corn meal that’s the wrong direction! My recipe (which is an older Quaker recipe) is very similar to yours, but no honey or buttermilk. Both of those sound like yummy additions that I’ll have to try.

  • Birdwell
    November 24, 2006

    I tried your recipe for Thanksgiving Day breakfast. It was awesome! I served it hot (heated it up as necessary) with extra butter slathered on it and a dollop of honey on the top.

    That made it into a little slice of buttery heaven.

  • Debra
    November 19, 2009

    Could you do this in a loaf pan, and if so – how long to bake?

  • ToddD0362
    December 5, 2009

    I make a similar cornbread recipe like this but I add jalapenos to it. You wouldn’t believe how delicious that is. Of course you don’t want to go overboard with the heat… 😛

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