I often make cornbread around Thanksgiving, both because cornbread goes well with most Thanksgiving dishes – such as turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, etc. – and because cornbread makes an excellent stuffing. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cornbread Mix is a new product that the grocery store released for the holiday season that caught my eye because it combines cornbread and pumpkin, both holiday favorites for me. The mix is a dry mix to which you add eggs, milk and oil, then pour into a pan and bake. It couldn’t be any easier to whip up and the resulting bread is very tasty.
The pumpkin in this cornbread comes from real pumpkin that is dried and powdered. This gives the finished bread a more traditional cornbread texture, with a coarse and airy crumb, rather than a dense cornbread that can sometimes be the result of incorporating fresh or canned pumpkin into a recipe. The bread is still moist in the center and pleasantly crusty on the top, creating a nice contrast in each bite. You can both smell and taste the pumpkin, but you will also be able to taste buttery cornmeal in each bite. It smells sweet, but the bread is actually not particularly sweet at all, which makes it versatile enough to be used in both sweet and savory applications.
I found that the cornbread was a little bit better when I cut back on the oil slightly, replacing a portion of it with additional milk. The extra oil made the cornbread a bit more cake-like and it wasn’t bad, but I often prefer a slightly coarser cornbread. If you like to make stuffing with your cornbread, you’ll get a better finished product if you start with a coarser bread in the first place, as well. That said, if you want your cornbread as a breakfast side instead of as a means of sopping up gravy, I would stick with the oil amount recommended on the package for a softer bread that is perfect for topping with butter and jam or honey.