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Hailing from Texas, my Mom made a lot of cornbread: Corn dodgers, corn cake, cornbread…we ate it with butter and molasses, dunked it in spicy stews, crumbled it over our chili. This version is one of my favorites. It bakes up nicely moist, with a crispy crust and lovely crumb. Be sure to use stone-ground cornmeal—white, or golden, for best texture and flavor. You can gild the lily by stirring a few spoons of diced green chilies or fresh corn kernels into the cornbread batter before baking if you like. But it’s just fine without, eaten piping hot, right out of the oven.
Skillet Cornbread with Molasses & Honey
- 1, 10-inch cast iron skillet
- 1, 10-inch round of parchment paper
- 1 ½ cups medium-grind, stone-ground cornmeal
- 2 Tbsp. dry milk powder
- 1 ½ cups cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ fresh lemon to make 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 Tbsp molasses (I use Grandma’s brand original, unsulfured)
- 3 Tbsp melted butter OR melted bacon fat, plus 1 tablespoon soft butter to grease cast-iron skillet
- Position baking rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal with dry milk power. Measure cake flour, baking powder, soda and salt into a flour sifter; sift into the cornmeal/dry milk mixture and stir all dry ingredients with a fork or whisk until evenly mixed. In a separate bowl, combine milk with lemon juice; allow to rest for 2 minutes to thicken. Whisk eggs into the lemon-milk; stir in honey, molasses and melted fat. Using a fork, stir wet ingredients into the dry just until combined, and no molasses streaks remain. Set aside.
- Cut a round of parchment-paper to fit into the bottom of 10-inch skillet. Grease the sides of the skillet and the parchment paper well with butter. Spoon batter into skillet. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven. Slide a knife around the inside rim of the skillet to loosen cake from sides of the pan. Invert cornbread cake onto a plate to remove it from the skillet. Peel off and discard the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Invert cake a second time onto a serving platter, or cutting board. Slice and serve hot with butter and molasses or honey.
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