Fast and Easy Cornbread (Recipe of the Week)
I don’t recall my mother making cornbread when I was growing up but I can’t imagine serving chili soup without that option. (See my chili recipe here.) But then, she was a Yankee. No southern cook (dare I be so bold to put myself halfway in that camp) can be without a go-to recipe to stir up on a busy day.
Some cornbread doesn’t do much for me—if it is too crumbly, dry, or hard. I guess I also like mine best with a little sugar in it, which by most accounts is not true southern cornbread. The real thing, according to some, also has to be baked in a cast iron skillet.
From my experiments, reading recipes, and trying the cornbread others make, I think the best combination includes enough flour that the cornbread is not super crumbly, and just enough sugar to make it a little sweet. Some recipes call for a cup of sugar (for a 9 x 12 pan); my recipe, which came from a cornmeal box, just includes ¼ cup sugar. I’m betting you could weasel that back to 2 tablespoons if you wanted.
I love this recipe because it takes liquid shortening (vegetable oil) which makes for super easy mixing and clean up, just one bowl with one spoon and one measuring cup. I cut this recipe in half now that the children are gone and it bakes up just fine in a bread pan.
Corn Bread (adapted from cornmeal box; original used 1 cup corn meal and 1 cup flour)
¾ cup yellow corn meal
1 ¼ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil or other shortening, soft
Sift dry ingredients (first five) together.
Add next three ingredients.
Beat with spoon until smooth.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Makes enough for a 9 x 9 inch pan, or 12 muffins.
How easy is that? I’ve whipped this up while doing a load of laundry, unloading the dishwasher and entertaining a clingy toddler or two. While a pot of chili is simmering. Not because I was a supermom, this recipe is that easy.
For more recipes from Shenandoah Valley cooks, turn to Whatever Happened to Dinner: Recipes and Reflections on Family Mealtime.