The author of The Cornbread Gospels discovered after six years of research there are more than 200 versions of cornbread recipes. It should not be surprising that the cornbread preferences and recipes differ nationally and globally. Nationally the differences between cornbread preferences in the north and south are significant. Southern-style cornbread is made with very little sugar, while the northern-style cornbread is discernibly sweeter (as much as I am partial to certain regions of the south, I definitely skew to cornbread on the sweeter side).
Until I came across a recipe for Sweet New England Cornbread in Yankee Magazine I really didn't have a corn bread recipe I was crazy for. I can now go on record and say I finally have a deliriously delicious cornbread recipe. I no longer have to secretly wish for a basket of warm homemade cornbread brought to a table in a restaurant, because I can now satisfy that need at home.
Is it just me or do others go to grocery stores to seek out need local ingredients to bring back home when vacationing or visiting new places? On my list of the things I absolutely had to bring back from the east coast was some local stone ground yellow and white corn meal for pie and crostata crusts I was planning on making in the weeks and months ahead. It wasn't as if I needed another reason to buy some cornmeal, but coming across the recipe for New England cornbread using stone ground yellow corn meal only served to further reaffirm why I just had to bring back some with me. Food as a kind of souvenirs, who else imagines such things?
With the exception of stone ground cornmeal all of the ingredients for this cornbread are probably in your refrigerator or cupboards. This could not be a more simple recipe and one that comes together in less than 40 minutes (from beginning to end).
The flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt are whisked together in a medium sized bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, the eggs are lightly whisked before the milk and melted butter are mixed in.
The wet ingredients are poured over the dry ingredients and folded in until just combined. There will be lumps, do not worry. If you over mix this, then you can worry.
In a nine inch square pan lined with parchment paper that has been buttered or sprayed with vegetable spray, the batter is poured in.
The cornbread is baked in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. My baking time was 20 minutes.
This cornbread is over the top delicious served warm out of the oven, however, it retains its' deliciousness even when served warm temperature. If you are looking to make your family and friends have a faint of heart cornbread eating experience, serve it to them warm with a side of butter or honey.
Sweet New England Cornbread (adaptation of Yankee Magazine's Sweet New England Cornbread recipe)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (recommend King Arthur)
1 cup stone-ground (medium grind) cornmeal (recommend Kenyon's Stone Ground Yellow Cornmeal)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk (or 2 %)
Note: The type of cornmeal used will alter the texture of the cornbread. A medium grind corn meal will yield a cornbread with a pleasant crunch while a finely ground cornmeal will yield a lighter in texture cornbread).
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch square baking pan (line with parchment paper and spray or butter).
2. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk eggs. Whisk in milk and melted butter.
4. Pour dry ingredients over wet ingredients and fold just until combined (do not over mix).
5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter and/or honey.
I was able to get a small dose of the east coast last weekend as I traveled to Rhode Island to visit some friends. During some of my discretionary alone time I sought to capture as many of my favorite images as possible, keeping my fingers crossed that the backdrop for all of my photos would be a beautiful blue New England sky (not that gray isn't a good color, there is just something special about the color blue). Whether or not my finger crossing had anything to do with influencing the color of the sky, the shades of blue were absolutely beautiful, the kind of energizing beautiful that makes you want to pinch yourself.
Of the many things I love about New England are its' diverse landscapes, each one of them having their own mesmerizing beauty. In a very small square mile radius you can view the ocean, historic homes, farms, vineyards, and wildlife (the kind of beauty that would make you never want to leave, except of course to live near the mountains).
The wind coming off the ocean on the day I tried to capture some images of the water was so wicked I had to keep going back into the car to warm my fingers (taking photos with gloves wasn't working too well). But enduring the icy cold ocean wind was a small, insignificant price to pay for being able to take in and capture the water, the waves, and the rocks that were illuminated by the sun. On the day I was out taking photos in the town I had lived for the past couple of years, the weather was crisp, sunny and still with the skies remaining blue. They were both 'be still my heart' photographing moments.
If you looked at my camera you would find many similar images to the ones I had taken this past weekend. And even though it may seem to some there is little diversity in the landscape photos I take (although anyone thinking this would not have a very good eye), the color of the sky, weather and the seasons makes each of them unique. So whether I stood in the same place everyday for a year taking a photo of the same landscape no two would be the same. I have always wondered why I am so drawn to taking photos of landscapes (versus photos of people). Whatever the reason I hope I never tire of my passion for trying to capture some of nature's beauty. Because if one gives up trying on anything or anyone they are passionate about/for, one never knows what they might miss out on.