Traditional skillet cornbread is what Grandma made using her cast iron pan. I remember that it was so good, it was almost magical. My culinary magic powers are growing and I have her cast iron skillet, so I do the best I can to replicate her masterpiece.
I’m pretty sure she used lard to grease the skillet and in a rare concession to healthier eating, I use butter. Either way, preheating and greasing the pan before pouring in the batter results in a crispy crust that contrasts beautifully with the soft buttery interior.
This and some red bean soup I made for dinner go together perfectly. Crumble it into the soup, alternate bites, or slather some butter on it as a side for a satisfying meal.
Cornbread, Sugar and History
I know you have a personal opinion about whether or not sugar belongs in a cornbread recipe, but do you know why? I mean really why. The reason most certainly originates with the history and evolution of cornbread. North or south, wealthy or poor, white or yellow corn, and in the pre-civil war era, big house vs. slave quarters shaped the way our ancestors taught us how to love it.
This article written by Kathleen Purvis for the Charlotte Observer will answer all your questions and explain why you like it “your way”.
Regardless of your personal preference, cornbread is universally loved in Arkansas, in all its glorious forms. That makes it an Arkansas Original.
- 1–1/4 cups medium ground yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 cup + 1 TBL granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs – lightly beaten
- 1 stick unsalted butter – melted and divided
- Preheat the oven to 425
- Melt a stick of butter on low heat
- Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl
- Preheat a 9″ cast iron skillet in the oven while you make the batter, about 10-15 minutes
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda
- Whisk in the milk, buttermilk and eggs
- Whisk in almost all the melted butter, reserving 1 tablespoon
- Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and grease with the remaining melted butter
- Carefully pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven
- Turn the heat down to 375 and bake until the center is firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-30 minutes
- Remove and cool for 10-15 minutes on a rack and the cornbread will pull away from the sides of the skillet
- Using a silicone spatula remove the cornbread from the skillet onto a cutting board and slice it into 6-8 pieces
And just one more thing…
My family likes this cornbread because of its sweetness and texture.