Soup season is upon us (okay, almost), and one of the most perfect accompaniments to soups and stews is cornbread. Up until about six months ago, I almost always used a packaged mix from the store, which was fine, until one day I began wondering if I was missing out by not making cornbread from scratch.
Because I wouldn’t want to miss out.
So I began looking for a “from scratch” cornbread recipe, and my search didn’t take me very far, because I just hopped next door to the Pioneer woman’s URL (she lives next door to my URL in the blogosphere, FYI) and printed off her recipe. And OH THE CRUNCHY EDGES AND MOIST CENTER! I am now a convert and this has been the only recipe I have used for the last six months or so. It is excellent and not only do I say that, but everyone who I have made it for says so too. In fact, they ask me “Are you making that homemade cornbread recipe, tonight, Mom? MMMMMMM!”
But I will say that compared to a mix, this is a little more time consuming, and what I don’t have now is a lot of extra time, because my life has changed somewhat with the start of my business. So I got all smart one day and created a master mix from her recipe. And I want to share it with you all because I love you, and I realize that three extra minutes saved is a huge amount of time if you are time challenged.
So if you want to make just a single recipe, get her recipe right here. And if you want to make a master mix and live your life stress free, my instructions below.
Here are my notes:
-In a pinch, I have substituted canola (or vegetable) oil for the shortening. It will work, but I just don’t think it is as good.
-I have used all milk instead of buttermilk and milk, and again, it will work, but if you want your cornbread to be awesome (and I know you do) use the buttermilk.
-I do not use Kosher salt for my master mix. In my mind, I think the Kosher salt won’t mix in as well as regular salt. I envisioning the Kosher salt falling to the bottom of the canister because the granules are heavier and bigger. You want the master mix to be well mixed. Now, I don’t know this will happen, it’s just my thought that it might. Does anyone else think that this could happen? Or do I think too much?
-Like I said above, it needs to be mixed well. I usually put all of my ingredients into my Kitchen Aid with my whisk attachment and mix on low speed, stopping to scrape down sides and the bottom with a rubber scraper. Mix for 4 -5 minutes.
-Do not over bake the cornbread or muffins. The cornbread should be firm to the touch in the middle an lightly golden brown. I almost always put my skillet under the broiler for a deep golden brown. If your making mini corn muffins, they can dry out very quickly, so watch them carefully.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk, milk, and beaten egg and stir until just mixed. Stir in the 1/4 cup melted shortening just until combined.
In a 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons shortening over medium heat until very hot. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Spread to even out the surface. (Batter should sizzle.) Cook on stovetop for 1 minute, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown and set in the firm in the middle. Do not over bake! Place under broiler to brown if needed.
To make mini cornbread muffins, spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and fill each cup about 2/3 full. These should bake in 15 minutes depending on the oven. Do not over bake or they will dry out and become tough. Bakejust until they are set in the middle.
*Stir in shredded cheese, corn, green chiles, bacon bits, etc. into the batter for variations.