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Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

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I’m a newly established fan of sweet cornbread, and although I have some good recipes for sweet cornbread in my arsenal, I was lacking one that called for buttermilk.  I do have one with buttermilk for the hard-core Southern cornbread fans, but since I like sweet cornbread, I had to make one for the folks like me who’d like to have a sweet cornbread recipe that calls for buttermilk when that’s the only kind of milk they have on hand.

As was the case a last week when I made a big pot of spicy chili and wanted some sweet cornbread to go with it.  This is perhaps the most tender cornbread I’ve ever made, and when fresh from the oven, is so close to the texture of a cake.  The next day it’s more sturdy, but still the crumb is quite delicate compared to regular cornbread.  I loved it!  Balanced our spicy chili perfectly. :)

Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

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1 cup (4 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 7/8 oz) cornmeal
2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 square pan (I used bacon grease) or a 10 inch cast iron skillet; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt until combined. In a separate smaller mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the buttermilk and oil. Pour into the cornmeal mixture and stir together until mostly blended but a few lumps remain. Let the batter rest for five minutes, then pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes (start checking at 20 minutes for a cast iron skillet) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with butter.

Recipe source: a marriage of my Favorite Cornbread and Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread from

Soup & chili weather is upon us, and cornbread is the perfect accompaniment!

Favorite Cornbread – my pictures don’t do this cornbread justice.  It is my favorite and probably will always be my favorite.

Homestead Cornbread – no flour, no sugar! Naturally gluten-free.

Lighter Northern Cornbread – great cornbread doesn’t have to cost the calorie bank an arm and a leg.



Favorite Cornbread

With three different cornbread recipes on my blog already, you might think I was cornbread crazed since I’m adding another.  Well, I guess maybe I am.  Growing up, we practically lived off of beans and cornbread during the winter months.  Plain pinto beans with no spices save salt, and whole wheat cornbread that was dry, not sweet at all, and was perfect for absorbing copious amounts of salty butter.  It might not sound particularly tasty, but we loved it.  I think it was the magic of butter, which we surprisingly were allowed to consume without limits since Grandpa deemed it a healthy fat and Mom learned all her health-nut ways from  him.  So we loved our beans and butter, er, cornbread.

This cornbread is the antithesis of the cornbread I was raised on, and truth be told, the first time I made it I was completely aghast that Mel dared to call it cornbread.  This wasn’t cornbread, this was cake.  And her whipped honey butter? The frosting!

But everyone (I brought it for a chili day at work) loooved it.  I didn’t bring the honey butter the first year and at first, some were disappointed, but after tasting it said, “This doesn’t even need butter!”  It really doesn’t.  It practically melts in your mouth, it is so soft and moist.  I noticed when I brought the honey butter last year they barely touched it.  The cornbread is perfect on its own but if you really think you need some sweet butter, go to Mel’s blog for her unique recipe, which includes marshmallow fluff and is very good.

Anyway, after making this for others for two years and taking little tastes, I finally made it just for us for the first time last week when the temps were cooler and I wanted something to go with some ham & bean soup.  I have to say, I’m a convert.  Sorry, Mom.  This is definitely my new favorite and I have to tell you, Dennis is gaga for this stuff and he would never eat any of my cornbread before, not even Jiffy mix, which is similar to this, just not as soft.  The Lighter Northern Cornbread recipe on my blog is also crazy good, but it’s lower in fat and sugar so it’s not quite as melt-in-your mouth.  If you’re looking for some full fat goodness, I gotcha covered.

Favorite Cornbread

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1 ½ cups (6 ¼ oz) all-purpose flour
½ cup (3 oz) corn meal
2/3 cup (5 oz) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 ¼ cups milk

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray an 8×8 baking dish with oil; set aside.  Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, make a well and add oil, butter, eggs, and milk into the center. Stir well until mixed (batter will be runny – don’t be alarmed!). Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes. This doubles perfectly for a 9X13-inch pan, but will have to be baked longer (start checking after 45 minutes-I can’t remember how long it took when I doubled it in previous years).

Recipe source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Amish Friendship Creamed Cornbread

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I don’t enjoy eating hot, hearty meals in the summer.  It makes me feel icky.  And yet I’ve been eating them like crazy.  Enchiladas, chicken noodles, meatloaf and creamed corn, chicken and rice, pot roast.  Today?  Pinto beans and cornbread. All foods I associate with cold winter months, and that have no business being in my belly this time of year.

OK, so I have some excuses.  The enchiladas?  I had all the ingredients without even planning for it.  The chicken noodles, meatloaf, chicken and rice, and pot roast I made all in a single day with Teri because she was teaching me to cook more homestyle-type foods.  So that’s a pretty good excuse.  And today, with the winter beans and cornbread? Four words.


(Click here if you want to make your own starter.  But you might want to read the rest of this blog first.  As a warning.)

It’s taking over my life.  Sparking creative neurons in my brain and making me want to bake things with it that I’d rather not eat this time of year.  But I just couldn’t resist the idea of turning this round of starter into cornbread, despite having no desire to actually eat it.  (Until I baked it of course, and then I couldn’t stop eating it!) I was inspired by the Miller-family’s creamed corn to incorporate the same ingredients into this recipe, which made the most moist cornbread I’ve ever had.  It almost melts in your mouth!

Debbie left a comment yesterday on the creamed corn recipe that made me LOL: “Oh sure, stick a brick of cream cheese and a whole stick of butter on it and you could make your shoes taste awesome!!”  Can’t argue with that, or with what the magic of excessive cream cheese and butter do to this cornbread.  There is not a dry crumb to be found on this bread.  It is so moist, it’s almost a cross between cornbread and corn pudding.  The starter has enough sugar to give it a very nice, sweet, Northern-cornbread feel, and I love the sharp and salty edge the cheddar on top imparts.

If you decide to make this during the winter months, particularly for a holiday gathering, I’m going to tell you right now to go ahead and shred the whole block of cheese and add the other half to the batter.  But if you’re making it right now…well, I hope you’ve at least packed away your swimsuit for good until next summer.  Just sayin’.

Amish Friendship Creamed Cornbread

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Remaining starter after you’ve divied up three bags for friends
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 ½ cups cornmeal (I used stone ground)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoons salt
1 can corn, drained
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 dish with cooking oil and set aside.

Add the cream cheese and butter to the starter in a large bowl and beat until fairly smooth. Beat in eggs until combined. Stir in cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt just until combined. Stir in corn and mix until well combined. Spread into prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle cheese on top and allow to cool for ten to fifteen minutes before serving. Cheese will melt while the cornbread cools.

Homestead Cornbread

After posting the recipe for a lighter Northern cornbread, I got some feedback I wasn’t expecting.  Namely, from readers informing me that cornbread wasn’t made with flour, only cornmeal.


I mean.  WHAT?!

How could this possibly be?  Mom made her cornbread with whole wheat flour.  Every cornbread recipe I’ve ever seen includes flour.  Why have I never heard of cornmeal-only cornbread?!

I scoured the internet for a cornmeal-only recipe, and came up empty.  I consulted a friend in Kentucky who told me that cornmeal-only cornbread is a Southern thing (and she also told me I had to use buttermilk) so I searched for “Southern cornbread.”  Every recipe had flour.  So I searched for “buttermilk Southern cornbread.”  All had flour.  Desperate, I just did a generic “cornbread” search and yielded the same results.  The only difference in the vast amount of recipes was the amount of cornmeal and flour, the type of milk used, and whether or not there was sugar added.

I remembered that my cornmeal sack had a cornbread recipe on the back so I consulted that.  Score!  It was called “Homestead Cornbread” and only called for cornmeal, but it called for regular milk and Carla had specifically told me I had to use buttermilk.  She also insisted I top it with real butter.  Carla is from the South and she knows what she’s talkin’ ’bout so I decided I’d better come up with my own recipe (and top it with real butter) to make her happy.

You know southern women.  They’re all charming and “bless your heart!”…until you try to serve them sweet cornbread with whipped honey butter and then the fangs come out!  Or so I imagine, based upon how heated the North & South cornbread debate can get. ;)

*Disclaimer: I apologize to any Southern women reading this.  I was totally only saying that to amuse the Northerners.  Please don’t bite me!

So I got to work and made us a big ‘ol mess of beans (I’m trying to talk like Paula Deen since I’m doing the whole Southern cornbread thang here), because that’s just what you eat with cornbread (or am I wrong about this too?), and baked up my version of REAL southern cornbread.

Until I made this, I was convinced that the sweetened, moist stuff I’d been making lately was an abomination and I should be ashamed of myself for stooping so low as to make something that you didn’t have to drown in butter to keep from choking down.  That’s just how cornbread was supposed to be.  Dry and unsweet.  But now I can officially say (my apologies to the Southern folks) that I’m a true Northern cornbread convert.

Now, this stuff is wonderful if you do indeed slather it with a generous amount of (real) butter, and even better with some honey (I guess I missed the sweetness), but without them it is a little dry and crumbly.  What do you expect?  There’s no flour in it!  But if you were raised on this kind of cornbread, and are looking for a recipe and discovered them hard to find, I’m going to include it here for you because I realize that folks are loyal (except in my case, apparently) to the foods they were raised on.  And this one is especially good for crumbling over your beans, which means you can get your cornbread and beans in every bite! I love that.  Oh, oh, oh!  This one would also be superb for making cornbread stuffing.  Mmmm….is it too early to start planning Thanksgiving dinner?

Homestead Cornbread

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2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder (such as Rumford)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs (unbeaten)
2 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine dry ingredients. Add milk, egg, and oil and mix well. Pour into well-greased 8-inch square pan (the batter will come up high but don’t worry, it doesn’t rise much) and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cut into rows of 4×3 to make 12 squares.

Per serving: 120 calories; 4.2 g fat; 17.4 g carb; 1.5 g fiber; 3.7 g protein

*Veronica’s notes: it’s important to use aluminum-free baking powder in recipes calling for more than a teaspoon, otherwise you will get an unpleasant metallic aftertaste.  If I were to make this again, I’d bump up the oil to 1/4 cup to make it a little more moist. To make this with regular milk, use 5 teaspoons of baking powder and omit the baking soda.

Recipe source: adapted from the back of a Shawnee Best yellow cornmeal sack.

Lighter Northern Cornbread

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The civil war may have ended over 100 years ago, but there are still some battles between the north and south that continue to rage.  The cornbread issue, for instance.  It basically boils down to unsweetened (the south) versus sweetened (the north).  (Isn’t it ironic that the issue of the iced tea is the opposite, the south preferring sweetened?)  I was raised on a hearty whole wheat, unsweetened variety, and loved smothering it with butter and eating it with pinto beans during the cold winter months.  But now that I’m an adult and making my own cornbread, I most often make the northern kind since my hubby won’t eat the other.   I’m Switzerland–a fan of both, which is apt since we live in the middle of the US and aren’t really in the north or the south.

For you that enjoy northern-style cornbread, you can find the absolute best recipe here, but if you’re looking for something a little lighter, I’ve come up with a great one for you that won’t disappoint!

Lighter Northern Cornbread

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1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat milk
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350; grease a 9×9 pan and set aside.  Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and stir.  Add wet ingredients and stir just until mixed (it’s OK if there are some lumps).  Bake 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cut into rows of 4 x 4 to make 16 squares.

Per square: 137 calories; 5.5 g fat; 19 g carbohydrate; .8 g fiber; 3 g protein

Recipe by Veronica Miller

Out of curiosity, how do you prefer your cornbread and tea?  Sweet or not?

Honey Whole Wheat Cornbread

This is my favorite cornbread and I make it more often than any other kind.  Hearty and rustic, it is excellent smeared with butter and paired with chili or stew.

Honey Whole Wheat Cornbread

Makes one 9×13″ pan or 24 muffins
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups corn meal
4 teaspoons baking powder*
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
2 cups milk (I usually use skim)

Combine the corn meal, flour,  baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, honey & milk.  Stir into the flour mixture just enough to moisten the batter.  Pour into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan or 24 greased muffin cups. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-35 minutes or until golden brown.

*Due to the large quantity of baking powder in this recipe, I recommend using an aluminum-free baking powder, such as Rumford, to avoid a funny after-taste. (If you weren’t aware, most brands have aluminum in them.)  If you bake often, I’d recommend investing in an aluminum-free baking powder to ensure the best taste in your quick breads and cakes.

Corn(bread) Dogs

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I got this idea off a picture I saw on another blog but since I didn’t save the recipe, I had to make it up.  I’m pleased with the results!  It’s obviously a bit different than a fried corndog–healthier too, since it’s baked–but it’s close enough and so much easier.  I imagine this would go over pretty well with the kiddos.

Corn(bread) Dogs
Serves 6

1 ¼ c stone-ground yellow cornmeal
¾ c all-purpose flour
2 ½ t baking powder
3 T sugar
¾ t salt
2 large eggs, beaten
2 T vegetable oil
1 c milk (I used skim)
6 hot dogs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray & set aside.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl, then make a well in the center.  Add the eggs, oil & milk to the middle of the flour mixture and whisk it up in a few rapid strokes—leave it slightly lumpy.

Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.  Place the hotdogs 3 x 3 on top so that they’re evenly space and will be surrounded by cornbread when cut.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cornbread is cooked through.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, then cut around the hotdogs with a sharp knife, leaving an even amount of cornbread surrounding each hotdog.

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