Several months ago, my daughters and I started on a book project about the history of corn, cornmeal, and corn-based recipes. As part of our effort, we got into a friendly competition to find the best cornbread recipe. As a purist, my contribution was totally sugar-free. Sarah submitted this recipe, which has a lot of sweetening including honey. For my taste, it is too sweet to sop up pot liquor or beans. Still, it is absolutely delicous, so much so that it is difficult to resist eating the whole batch by oneself even though it should serve four to six. There is relatively little cornmeal as most cornbread recipes go, and it is almost like a cake. That is why in this post I have presented it as a dessert paired with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.
The recipe came from one of Sarah’s cooking friends, Deanie Hickox, who at one time worked as a pastry chef at Michael Mina’s in San Francisco. The original version made enough cornbread for a crowd of restaurant customers, so I adapted it for the home baker. You’ll see that my finished cornbread fell a little in the middle. That was from my using too much baking soda for this altitude (7,000 feet). If you are a high altitude baker, see the note below
1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda *(for high altitudes, reduce to 1 teaspoon)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
- 4 ounces (one stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cups buttermilk
- ¼ cup cream
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1½ tablespoons honey
Combine dry ingredients
- Mix eggs and butter, and then add other wet ingredients. The order is important to keep the butter from solidifying too much.
- Add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir. Don’t worry about getting out all the lumps. Most of them are lttle clumps of butter that will melt during baking.
- In a pre-heated oven, bake at 350°F (177°C) in a greased 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan for about 45minutes. Cover with foil if the cornbread takes on too much color.
- Cool for 5 minutes. Then cut into serving-sized squares.
- For dessert, add macerated strawberries or other fruit, and top with whipped cream.