One of the best things you can do for your health is to reduce your use of prepackaged convenience foods. When you make something from scratch, you control the ingredients so your food isn't full of additives and preservatives.
I grew up making cornbread using a Jiffy box. Are you familiar with these boxes of cornbread mix? I understand the draw to them. They are cheap and you just have to add milk and eggs. However, with just a few minutes of your time, you can make cornbread from scratch using the ingredients that you want; for me, that's organic cornmeal, butter instead of lard, and limited sugar.
My Basic Recipe
1 C organic cornmeal
1 C unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 C butter, melted
1/3 C brown sugar
2 TBSP honey
1 egg, room temperature
1 C milk
Combine dry ingredients (cornmeal thru salt), mix to combine. Add wet ingredients and stir to combine.
Pour into a greased and floured cake pan (or 8x8 square baking dish).
Bake it for 20 minutes at 400⁰F.
Watch Me Make It
Change It Up
Let's talk about the individual ingredients...
- I prefer organic cornmeal mostly because I know that it isn't GMO corn. If that isn't important to you, or your budget is super tight, just buy standard corn meal.
- I used unbleached bread flour in the video above because it's what I had. Usually, I have unbleached all-purpose flour. I also like to blend AP flour with whole wheat (about half-half). Using just whole wheat doesn't come out quite as moist.
- I used an organic store brand stick of butter. You can use lard if that's your thing or butter made from local milk if you have that option. Because there isn't much salt added in this recipe, you can use salted or unsalted butter with little effect on the final product.
- I used a combination of brown sugar and honey. The amount above made the cornbread plenty sweet. You could use any other kind of sugar you have on hand. You could omit the brown sugar and double the honey, or just decrease the sugar down to 1/4 cup sugar and the 2 TBSP honey.
- If your egg is cold, just let it sit in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes before adding it to the bowl. You can also use an egg substitute if you have an egg allergy.
- Use whatever milk product you prefer. I rarely have dairy milk on hand, not that I have an issue with dairy, we just don't tend to use it much (neither my husband nor I drink milk or eat cold cereal). I did have oat milk in the fridge from making overnight oats and we had some half & half, so I blended them together. Use what you have.
This recipe is delicious as is, but sometimes it's fun to jazz it up and make it a little different.
- Add 1 cup corn kernels
- Stir in 1-1.5 cup shredded cheddar cheese and some chopped jalapenos (leave out the seeds and membrane if you don't like too much heat)
- Stir in some leftover crumbled bacon or sausage
- Use creamed corn in place of your milk
- Stir in some fresh chopped herbs like basil, sage, or thyme (keep in mind sage and thyme are strong, so use sparingly)
- Add in chopped bell peppers and onions
I love cornbread as a side to chili, but it's also great with soup, salad, or grilled fish! In addition to having it with dinner, it also makes a great breakfast (just serve it up with jam, honey, and a big cup of coffee). You can also grab a piece as a nice on-the-go snack.
Freeze It For Later
I love to take half of the cornbread and freeze it for later. That way, I can enjoy it for a couple of meals now and then still have some to enjoy later. Simply wrap it up in wax paper or parchment paper, then put it in a ziplock freezer bag, suck out as much air as possible and pop it in the freeze. You should use it within 3 months (if it lasts that long). To thaw simply move it to your fridge and let it thaw overnight and then unpackage, wrap in aluminum foil and warm in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350⁰F.