Cornbread is a side dish that really goes well with most soups and stews (or anything in my book!) – and it especially goes well with the holidays for most people. Who doesn’t love a little cornbread mixed in with a Thanksgiving or Christmas bread basket? It adds to a little color and sweetness; it will certainly be one of the first varieties to go. This cornbread version introduces whole wheat flour, reduces sugar, increases Omegas, and embraces all of the traditional flavors you’ve come to expect.
What is cornbread?
- Cornbread is an all American quick bread, which is a bread that does not require kneading and is leavened with baking soda or baking powder. In other words, it comes together quickly and easily. Common examples include muffins, banana bread, zucchini bread – if you are here, you have probably made one of those before. They are delicious and easy!
- Cornbread comes to us comes to us from Southern cuisine and cooking where corn grew well and plentifully. It was originally cooked in a cast iron skillet, though now it can just as commonly found in a baking pan. Some traditional ingredients/toppings include: bacon, butter, and cheese – sounds delicious right?
How I approached making cornbread
- Step one, find a balance between swapping out the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour that is found in typical recipes. Some recipes use all cornmeal; however, I have found I like the blend. Since I was going for a baking dish scenario, I wanted to stick with the blend. Frying up the cornbread in a skillet would have defeated the purpose of making it, in my book – and baking it in a pan seemed more accessible to a wider audience.
After several attempts a 50/50 blend of whole wheat flour and cornmeal was the best combination to get a nice product, but still have that overall cornbread taste and texture.
- Step two, remove the buttermilk. Many people debate the necessity of buttermilk in cornbread. I removed it here so I could use dairy-free milk and slice the calories in half. A little savings I thought would help in the end, which it did, without sacrificing anything, which it didn’t. It also allowed me to remove the baking soda from the recipe and let the bread be leavened entirely by the baking powder.
- Step three, managing the butter. Delicious butter. Well, this was easy; let’s just swap this out for the benefits of extra virgin olive oil. We added some great Omegas to the cornbread this way too – what a treat and now we are making a more self-aware cornbread. Well, fat is fat, but adding better fats is a good thing in my book, and that is what we are going for around here.
- Step four, sugar. There’s a spirited debate about sugar in cornbread. Apparently there are two camps, a sweet one and a not so sweet one. Traditional cornbread had no sugar in it, and there are plenty of recipes that still stay true to that savory deliciousness to this day. However, there are plenty of recipes out there that embrace a more sweet cake – like this cornbread recipe as well. I added just a little sweetness with the sugar in the raw to appease those who may be more used to a sweet cake. For more reading on the topic, I encourage you to explore the following articles for some fun heated debates: The Last Word on Cornbread, and Why does sugar in cornbread divide races in the South?
So, that in a nutshell is what I set out to do and what I eventually did. I played around with the recipe until I was happy with the results. And man were there a few tries on this one. Baking always takes time. I produced a rich and mouthwatering cornbread that I’m certain you are going to enjoy.
As for toppings, I would serve this plain and warmed gently, or with a butter substitute if you would prefer. There are plenty on the market now that offer a similar taste but with better benefits than butter. While I ate it plain and was happy, my husband had the butter substitute.
However you serve it, you’ll be enjoying a delicious and decadent cornbread recipe!
Can you use this for stuffing?
- Of course you can. While Thanksgiving might be the most popular time of year for stuffing, you need not only eat stuffing on Thanksgiving. To prepare this cornbread for use in stuffing crumble it all up with your hand, place it on a cookie sheet and toast it at a medium temperature (350 degrees F) to dry it out a bit for about 20 minutes. Then you will have your very own homemade cornbread stuffing mix, ready to use – I have been doing this for years.
Can you make this a savory cornbread recipe?
- You can also make this recipe savory. I added it in the notes as well, for those that skip these essays, but it’s just as tasty and brings a whole new dimension to the cornbread. I would go with either sage or thyme with this recipe and add a 1/2 teaspoon to the dry ingredients stage. This is especially useful if using for stuffing.
Feedback? Suggestions? Please consider leaving a comment for us so we know what you thought of this recipe. We are always interested in hearing from our readers! Especially let us know how you served this cornbread, we can’t wait to hear how this made it to your table!
- 1 cup dairy-free milk
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar in the raw optional
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Grease an 8x8 oven safe baking dish.
- Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and oil. Add in milk, whisk to incorporate.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir to incorporate. Do not overmix or your cornbread will be tough.
- Pour batter into baking dish. Distribute evenly and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.
- Serve warm.
- Serve with butter substitute if you need something extra.
- You can make this a savory recipe (it’s delicious) by adding herbs to the dry ingredients, I would add 1/2 teaspoon sage or thyme.
- You can cut the pieces smaller to get more out of this cornbread, it is filling.