Friday, September 2, 2011

Yankee-fied Southern Cornbread

Necessity is the Mother of Invention, right? Tonight is one of those make-do-with-what-you-have kind of meals. I will post the recipes as separate blog posts, just because I haven't posted in FOREVER!! Think I will even hold off a little bit and post the other one in the morning. Also, I have a yummy dessert to post, which will have to wait until Sunday.

Have you noticed how your cooking changes in the summer? In the winter we make lots of soups and stews and casseroles and roasts and things in the crockpot - soothing, comforting, warm, and full of flavor. Summer is just so darn hot! I don't feel inspired to cook much in the summer. We make salad, grill chicken, the occasional burger and macaroni and cheese (yes, from scratch, are you kidding??) and lots of veggies. I still make spaghetti sauce in the summer. Otherwise we eat differently.

School started back for my kiddos this week, and despite the fact that it was 100 degrees outside today, I felt the urge to make something warm and comforting. So a pot of chili is simmering on the stove and 2 loaves of a Yankee-fied cornbread are in the oven baking away happily. I am not the Queen of Cornbread. I have one recipe that I love, but didn't have the ingredients for it. So, off I went to find one that I could make with what I have. First of all, I have self-rising cornmeal... I feel a bit ashamed of myself. It seems like a cheater's way of baking - the whole self-rising flour thing. I grew up where everything was made from scratch and this seems kind of half-way between scratch and a mix. I think I have blogged about my feelings for self-rising flour before, so I will just leave it at that and say that I have it because my husband bought it :) Yeah, I'll just blame it on him and move on. I like sweet cornbread that is more like a cake and this fits the bill. I have made cornbread in a skillet in the oven, in a square baking dish, in a glass pie plate (my favorite recipe is done this way) and in muffin tins. This is a first in loaf pans. This is Yankee-fied because I made it sweet and did not make it in the skillet like my southern friends would do. I think I finally hit on a winner.

Yankee-fied Southern Cornbread

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 2/3 cups self-rising white cornmeal
2 cups self-rising flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar (I used light, either way I think it would work)
2 cups milk
4 large eggs, beaten
Honey to top with
* Recipe makes two 9-by-4 1/2-inch loaves.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9x4 ½ inch loaf pans  and line with parchment paper, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal and flour, set aside. Melt the butter in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir in the brown sugar, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Whisk in milk and then eggs. Pour into the dry mixture and stir until blended. Evenly pour batter into loaf pans, making sure the tops are smoothed. Bake until loaves are golden, about 30-35 minutes. Let cornbread loaves cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold with butter, honey, jam...

Ps. When I go to Cracker Barrel, I like to ask for corn muffins and a bottle of maple syrup (one of the only places you can get the REAL THING) and I make that my dessert. I see something like that in my future this evening!

Until next time, stay cool and loved, my friends!

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