As I begin writing this blog post, the first thing that pops into my head is Alan Jackson’s song, “Where I Come From.” That song is ever emblazoned on my mind. Several years ago, I was taking a cross-country road trip with a friend and it became the anthem for our drive, with such classic lyrics as:
…where I come from
It’s cornbread and chicken
Where I come from a lotta front porch pickin’
Where I come from, tryin’ to make a livin’
And workin’ hard to get to Heaven
Where I come from…
Hey, I say this in all sincerity: I love me a good Alan Jackson song! But I must warn you, if you decide to stream this one, it has a way of becoming a permanent fixture in your mind.
You may not be making any cross-country road trips, but you could definitely make it your anthem when you whip up this recipe.
North vs. South
There are all kinds of cornbread, from traditional Southern Cornbread to other cornbread that is more like a sweet corn cake, that is affectionately known as Yankee cornbread. I love them both, but they are distinctly different.
Traditional Southern cornbread is saltier and has a dryer texture. It’s more of a savory bread than a sweet bread. You’ll find that it breaks apart and crumbles perfectly. And, it’s great to pair with a ton of foods, like Chicken (as Alan Jackson so aptly pointed out), Soup or Chili. I just love it with Chili!
Southern Cornbread is oftentimes made in a cast iron pan. Now, you could totally make this version in a cast iron pan. It would become perfectly crispy. But since we’re cooking for a smaller kitchen where we don’t have a cast iron pan sitting around, I wanted to show you how to make it using a baking dish that we use in a lot of other Tiny Kitchen Big Taste Recipes.
Yankee cornbread (the northern-inspired variety) is traditionally much sweeter than it is savory and it has a denser, more moist texture to it. It’s almost like a corn cake, if you will. And I will!!! Because I love this variety too. It great for making corn muffins.
Lighten it Up
While the old family recipe was made with shortening, my dad lightened it up a bit by using vegetable oil. We also went through a phase in the 1990s when we were cutting out all fat and he would make it with unsweetened apple sauce. But that actually has an effect on the texture, making it more of a cross between the southern and northern-inspired bread. It was moist yet savory…but still very good!
So, if you’re looking for Southern texture without the trans-fats of shortening, then use vegetable oil instead.
Spice it Up
I love spicy foods and cornbread is no different. The good news is that, aside from the traditional variety, you can add a variety of ingredients to mix up the recipe a bit. I love adding jalapeños and cheese. Onions and regular peppers would be good in there too.
Top it Off
I am a sucker for honey-butter and this recipe is perfect for that. If you’ve never made honey-butter, it is super simple. Just mix a little honey into your butter and stir. That’s it. I’d recommend that you start slow and add more honey until you get it to the perfect ratio for you.
The sweet honey-butter works amazingly well with the savory-ness of this cornbread. But you can also use regular butter…or just go without!
One thing you should not go without is a pan of this cornbread. Sorab the recipe below and make up a batch for the Superbowl this weekend. It goes perfectly with my Dad’s Award-winning Chili. With those two on the menu, it sounds like we have a TOUCHDOWN!
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- Combine dry ingredients (Cornmeal, Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt) into a Mixing Bowl.
- To the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients (Milk – Whole or 2%), Vegetable Oil or Unsweetened Applesauce, beaten Eggs)
- Mix with a Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer to a lightly greased Baking Pan.
- Pop in 400°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until in golden brown on top.