Thursday, April 28, 2011

Southern Style Skillet Cornbread

by Darla

I just have a short, sweet, simple post/recipe for you today, because I got some fun new toys this week.

Aren’t these just about the cutest things ever?! I found these stinking cute mini cast iron skillets while at the hardware store, of all places, and I immediately had to have them. Of course. I mean, their mini cast iron skillets. Practically anything mini is automatically cute…and I like cute.

So we get home and what’s hubs say?

“What will you ever use those for?”

Oh! How he doubts me. And so I made him cornbread.

Imagine it: You’re having friends over for dinner and you make delicious soup. Maybe it’s hot ham and beans, or cheesy potato soup. You bring the soup to the table and start serving, then you get to bring each guest one of these! Everybody gets their own teeny little individual cornbread. In it’s own baby skillet! Really…really, really, how. fun. is. that?!

The simple recipe I used only requires buttermilk (I use powdered buttermilk reconstituted with water), corn meal, an egg, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and water. You’ll also need bacon fat, butter, or vegetable oil for greasing the pan(s). This recipe can be made in 12 mini cast iron skillets, or one 8-inch cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use a regular 8-inch cake pan, greased with butter or margarine.

First thing, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place bacon fat, or vegetable oil/butter mixture in the skillet and place it in the oven to preheat. (If you’re using mini skillets, place all of the fat into one skillet, it will be added to the bread batter later.) If you use mini skillets, place them all on a rimmed baking sheet before putting them in the oven to preheat. If you’re using a plain cake pan, do not preheat it.

Set aside 1/3 cup of the corn meal in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2/3 cup corn meal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Bring the water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, quickly add the water to the 1/3 cup of corn meal in the medium bowl, stirring to form a thick paste. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk, being sure to get rid of any lumps that form. Next, whisk in the egg until combined. Finally, stir int he dry ingredients until just incorporated. Carefully, remove the skillet with the fat in it from the oven and pour the fat into the batter, stirring until incorporated. Pour into the preheated skillet(s) and bake until golden brown (about 20 minutes for an 8-inch skillet, and 8 to 10 minutes for the mini skillets).

As soon as you remove the bread from the oven, spread soft butter over the top and allow it to melt while the bread cools.

I usually only let mine cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before serving. That way, when I slather even more butter on top, it’ll get all melty. Yum. Be careful when removing the bread from the skillet(s) – even after 15 minutes, the cast iron will be quite warm.

I’m not usually a big fan of southern style cornbread. having grown up in the northern midwest, I’m definitely a northern cornbread kind of girl. Northern cornbread is sweeter and a little denser than southern cornbread. This southern style recipe is really fantastic though. The bread is slightly savory, soft, and almost a little fluffy. It’s not super dry and crumbly, but isn’t dense and heavy either. The recipe was very quick and simple, and I had all the ingredients on hand, which is always a bonus.

When all was said and done, the hubster said, “Okay. Now. What else are you ever going to use these for?”

Hm. Is he trying to get me to make more stuff as proof, or does he really doubt me? Don’t be surprised when you see these babies pop up on here again…I gotta prove they were worth getting, and not just cause they were cute! :) I think I’m off to a good start. Enjoy!

Southern Style Skillet Cornbread
Makes 12 mini cornbreads, or 1 8-inch round cornbread
Ingredients

4 teaspoons bacon fat, or 1 teaspoon oil and 1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup corn meal (gluten free corn meal is available)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder (not all brands are gluten free, so read labels carefully)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place bacon fat, or vegetable oil/butter mixture in the skillet and place it in the oven to preheat. (If you’re using mini skillets, place all of the fat into one skillet, it will be added to the bread batter later.)

Set aside 1/3 cup of the corn meal in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2/3 cup corn meal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Bring the water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, quickly add the water to the 1/3 cup of corn meal in the medium bowl, stirring to form a thick paste. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk, being sure to get rid of any lumps that form. Next, whisk in the egg until combined. Finally, stir int he dry ingredients until just incorporated. Carefully, remove the skillet with the fat in it from the oven and pour the fat into the batter, stirring until incorporated. Pour into the preheated skillet(s) and bake until golden brown (about 20 minutes for an 8-inch skillet, and 8 to 10 minutes for the mini skillets).

Immediately smear the tops with butter after removing from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karyl April 28, 2011 at 11:01 am

Yum! Those would be delicious (and adorable) with your Mulligatawney recipe — which we are still making a couple times a month.

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2 Tammi April 28, 2011 at 11:13 am

Oh, my! These are too cute! I would love to have these little cornbread cakes with chili or maybe spicy beef vegetable soup.

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3 Marcie April 28, 2011 at 11:35 am

As a born and raised Texan, I was skeptical when I saw “Southern Style Skillet Cornbread” as the title for this post. But then I saw that your recipe called for bacon grease. Well done, as usual. This is why I’m a devoted fan. Your recipes always come out perfectly. I’ll never make anyone another birthday cake without consulting you for ideas.

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4 Cara April 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I love these skillets! I’ve been looking for some too and obviously I’m not looking in the right places! I want some of the mini dutch ovens too with a lid too!

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5 Alex April 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I love these mini skillets! I just found some at Crate and Barrel. Here’s another thing you can use them for….chocolate chip cookies! Nice and hot with some vanilla ice cream. Yum!

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6 SM April 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Well, crud. I only have one of these. Guess I need to go out and buy a few more!

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7 RobynR April 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Individual pineapple upside down cakes!

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8 Yolanda April 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm

How big are these? Are they 31\2 or 5inches across? Thanks,
Yolanda

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9 Darla May 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm

They are 3.5″ and made by Lodge Logic.

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10 Monica April 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I’m in love!!!! me thinks there is a trip to the hardware store soon!

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11 Candi @ Family Stamping and FOOD! April 29, 2011 at 8:56 am

Those are adorable!!!

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12 Lucy @ The Sweet Touch April 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Too cute, and I love individual portions of anything, just adds a special something to any meal!

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13 Alicia April 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I think I see some mini cobblers in your future! I also love to use my cast iron skillet to make a super deep dish pizza with all the “supreme” toppings. These would make adorable mini deep dish pizzas!

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14 KosherCorvid April 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I love these! I was so sad to leave mine behind when we moved. They’re great for deep-dish cookies, baked macaroni and cheese, and eggs en cocotte. You’ve reminded me to buy yet more stuff for my tiny kitchen!

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15 yasmeen @ wandering spice May 1, 2011 at 5:02 am

how adorable are those little pans! this looks like a great recipe. love the golden crust… delish.

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16 James Potter May 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I work for a bar/club as lead cook and we have 8-10 of these mini pans. We use them for our skillet cookies. Little wad of dough flattened then baked in our 500 degree oven for 4-5 mins then topped with a scoop of ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. BIG hit after having a burger dinner and a mug of beer.

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17 sweetsugarbelle May 2, 2011 at 7:14 am

YOu made me so proud. This is exactly how Nanny taught me to do it…only bigger =)

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18 Kari May 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm

can this be down in a big skillet?

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19 Darla May 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Yep…an 8-inch skillet is the perfect size. Anything bigger and the bread gets quite thin.

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20 Kimberly Chapman May 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm
21 Darla May 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Yes, those are exactly right. Even the same brand. :)

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22 Victoria November 8, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Are you using Corn Meal MIX (combination of corn meal and usually wheat flour), or just 100% corn meal (with no flour of any kind, neither wheat flour or gluten free flour) in this recipe? I just want to make sure I have what I need in my pantry before I make this.

Thanks, love the hot bacon grease- that’s how my great-grandmother taught me!

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23 Darla November 9, 2011 at 2:46 am

Hello Victoria, I just used corn meal, as stated. No flour. I hope this is helpful.

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24 Sofia August 25, 2012 at 10:06 am

This is an amazing corn bread! Love the fact there is no wheat flour added :)
It is yummi, easy and I’ll be doing this one again and again!
Thanks!

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