Sweet Northern Cornbread (Yankee Cornbread)
If you read my blog with any regularity, you know that my family moved to South Carolina a few months ago. I am finding it a bit of a trial to keep a balance between my Northern upbringing and wanting to experience and immerse myself in my new region of the south. Case in point-cornbread.
So why, you may be asking, am I not posting a good southern cornbread recipe where the batter is poured into a cast iron skillet and baked to a perfectly crusty disc? The kind of cornbread that practically thirsts to be doused in black eyed peas? Cornbread that is to gravy as Curly is to Moe?
Because I haven’t perfected it yet. Everyone makes their cornbread a bit different around here and since I have Mississippi ‘family’ that influences me as well, I need to cover all the bases and possibilities. This requires more testing to come up with the final version and it will be, I assure you, coming soon. It will even be baked to the perfect state of crustiness in my cast iron skillet.
That said, I am, as you know, from the North. We Minnesota folk like our cornbread tall, fluffy, and sweet and I am not ashamed of it! That is how I grew up with it, and, if I may be so bold as to say, it is still my favorite way to eat it. *gasp* Its true. This is a safe place, friends. We accept fans of all kinds of cornbread here. No judgement.
Often called Yankee Cornbread, my version has flour in it, as well as cornmeal, to lighten the batter a bit. Most traditional southern cornbread recipes I have come across, either researched or those served to me by southern women, have little or no flour in them and much less baking powder, if any at all. The Northern version gets flack for being more cake like, while its counterpart is often criticized for lack of flavor.
Never one to discriminate against food (I am an equal opportunity eater), I like them both. In turn, I like to eat them in different applications. Today’s recipe is fantastic served with breakfast or brunch, spread with butter and jam. Generally though, my kids and I like to eat it plain. The texture and flavor is enough to warrant only a glass of milk on the side. It is great baked into muffins as well and is a nice balance between crumbly enough to still be cornbread but firm enough to eat out of hand. Since cornbread is just so darn easy to mix up, this is SO much tastier-and better for you-than reaching for a box of processed mix. Occasionally, those come in handy, but for straight up cornbread, there is no substitute.
So below is my staple, straight-up, no messing around, no frills recipe for sweet cornbread. Use it well and enjoy. No matter which side of the Mason-Dixon Line you call home.
Sweet Northern Cornbread
Equal parts flour and cornmeal have always been my standard for cornbread. My mom made it that way, so I make it that way. I add a bit more baking powder to mine because I like it extra fluffy. The white sugar forms just a bit of a sweet crust on the top that I can’t resist. Makes great muffins too!!
1 c flour
1 c cornmeal
2/3 c sugar
pinch of salt
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c milk
1/3 c grape seed, canola oil, or even melted butter
Preheat oven to 375.
Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk. In a large measuring cup, mix the egg, milk, and oil together with a fork. Slowly combine the wet and dry ingredients with the whisk, careful not to over mix! Pour into a greased, 9X9 glass or metal baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed, golden, and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan until just barely warm. Cut into squares and enjoy!