Making cornbread is a much-loved tradition in kitchens across the United States, especially in the south and southwest. Cornbread has its origins in Native American cuisine. It was also popular during the Civil War because it could be made inexpensively.
While everyone knows cornbread is a delicious addition to any meal, surprisingly it also has some redeeming qualities in terms of nutrition. Corn meal is a whole grain. Cornbread provides fiber along with some protein, potassium, Vitamin A, calcium and iron.
I’ve learned from experience that a good recipe makes all the difference between cornbread that is moist and one that turns out dry. The recipe that follows makes yummy cornbread that’s hard to resist.
You can use pretty much any brand of corn meal. But my favorite corn meals are ones that I’ve bought directly at a historic mill, such as the Old Mill of Guilford which is located near Greensboro, N.C.
My latest batch was inspired by our recent visit to West Virginia (see my blog post here!). We went to Babcock State Park in Clifftop, W.V., site of the Glade Creek Grist Mill – one of the state’s most-photographed sites. The water wasn’t high enough for the mill to operate the day we were there, but fortunately the park gift shop had a supply of its stone-ground corn meal available to purchase.
Note: I always keep mill-bought corn meal in the refrigerator, as it contains no preservatives.
In the following recipe, I’ve included options for baking in a square pan or muffin pan. I’ve also included the option to make it gluten-free using my special flour recipe, and that’s what I typically use these days when I bake. The right flour makes a big difference.
- 3/4 cup corn meal
- 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour (see my recipe here)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or regular milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Lightly grease or spray an 8″ square pan, or line with parchment paper.
- Combine dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, combine milk, oil and egg.
- Stir wet ingredients into the dry, just until dry ingredients are moistened.
- Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake 20 minutes or until light golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cut into squares. Serve warm, with butter and honey.
Muffins: Pour batter into 12 paper-lined or greased muffin cups. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
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