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Recipe: Skillet Cornbread

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Every year, once the weather turns cold, my husband looks forward to eating my homemade chili. It is a simple, straightforward recipe I found online. It does not use any secret ingredients and it probably is not chili cook-off worthy, but it is a delicious recipe nonetheless and we enjoy big steaming bowls of it throughout the short winter months here in Texas. I never make my chili without baking cornbread to enjoy on the side. But for years, a good cornbread recipe has been eluding me. All the recipes I have made in the past have always been too dry and flavorless. But, I never gave up and I finally found a recipe I love. It is from one of my favorite cookbooks by Dorie Greenspan.

Cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet

Dorie's original recipe instructs you to make the cornbread into muffins, which I think is a fun idea, especially if you are serving a group of people. Who would not love their own personal cornbread muffin? But I also know that cornbread bakes amazingly well in a cast iron skillet. A cast iron skillet is an essential kitchen tool. They conduct and retain heat efficiently which makes them perfect for both stovetop and oven cooking. They are also durable—you always hear of people who say they inherited their grandmother or great-grandmother's cast iron skillet. They truly stand the test of time when properly maintained. They are also the cheapest piece of kitchen equipment you will probably ever buy.

I love how the cornbread baked in my cast iron skillet. The bottom and edges were golden with a slight crispness and deep flavor. The crumb was tender and moist from the addition of the buttermilk, but it still had cornbread's signature crumbly texture. The corn kernels added tender pops of sweetness. It was fun to serve the cornbread into wedges straight from the skillet. I love to slather my piece of cornbread with butter and watch it melt into the little crevices before taking a bite. If you are making chili this winter, try making your cornbread in a cast iron skillet and grab a wedge for yourself before it disappears!

Skillet Cornbread Recipe

Adapted from Baking: From My Kitchen to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Special equipment: cast iron skillet

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)--if using frozen, defrost completely; if using canned, rinse and drain thoroughly

Directions:

Place the rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, egg, and egg yolk until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and using a rubber spatula, gently stir the ingredients together to blend. Do not over-mix. The batter will be lumpy and that is okay. Stir in the corn kernels. Set the batter aside.

Grease a cast iron skillet and place it in the heated oven for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and pour that batter into the skillet, using a spatula to distribute the batter evenly inside the skillet. Place the skillet back in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a skewer or cake tester inserted into the middle of the cornbread comes out clean. The edges of the cornbread should be a golden color. Transfer the skillet to a cooling rack and cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with unsalted butter, honey, or your preferred condiment.

Store any leftovers in a covered container at room temperature and eat within 2-3 days.

What is your favorite type of bread?

Flavia Scalzitti is a food blogger based in Houston, Texas. She is originally from Maryland and comes from an Italian family. Flavia grew up around people who used food and cooking as a way to keep their traditions alive, celebrate their Italian culture, express their love for their family, and nourish the people they cooked for with the freshest and best quality ingredients. She is entirely self-taught and is also passionate about baking. In addition to cooking and baking, Flavia enjoys learning about and practicing photography, reading, traveling, practicing yoga, and spending time with her husband, Peter. She blogs at Flavia's Flavors: http://www.flaviasflavors.com

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