Growing up, we had a side of homemade cornbread with just about every meal. It was fluffy and sweet and reminded me of cake. Topped with a slice of butter, it brought out the flavor of meat, perfectly complemented baked beans and made any vegetable tolerable. It remains one of my family’s favorites even now.
I’ve remastered the recipe of my youth and am sharing it today in preparation of the feasts that will soon take place. It is definitely on our menu for Christmas.
Stay tuned tomorrow when I’ll show you how to turn this homemade cornbread into a satisfying cornbread stuffing for Christmas dinner, too.
The first thing I do when making cornbread is to make my own buttermilk. Pour one tablespoon of lemon juice into a measuring cup. Then fill the remainder — up to the 1 cup line — with milk. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
Normally I use two tablespoons of lemon juice whenever I make my own buttermilk, but for this cornbread, one is the perfect amount. That one tablespoon adds a brightness to the bread that you can’t get with white vinegar, either.
Next, combine yellow corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. I grew up on Quaker’s yellow corn meal so that’s what I use. Give it a good stir so all the ingredients are combined.
Push the dry ingredients to the edges of the bowl to create a well in the center of the bowl. Pour in the vegetable oil, buttermilk — curdles and all — and an egg.
Mix until just combined. It’s okay if there are still some lumps — just no flour streaks. Pour into a greased and floured 8″ square pan.
Or muffin tins. Whichever you fancy.
Bake in preheated oven until perfectly golden, about 20-22 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and then slather with butter. Yum!