Coping with Cornbread

Feeding my 6 (Brown) and 3 (Henry) year old is a daily struggle. Brown became “picky” around 18 moths and never really looked back. Henry was a “good eater” but as he has observed Brown’s daily eating habits he has followed suit. Our weekly dinner rotation includes fish sticks, pesto and bread, hummus and pretzels, oatmeal and waffles. I serve these things with a healthy helping of yogurt and fruit/veggies and am pretty much OK with it.

Sometime this past winter I whipped together a skillet cornbread to go along with a hearty and comforting soup. It made a lot and that night I served the kids warm cornbread in a bowl with a drizzle of honey for Henry and maple syrup for Brown. Their plates were rounded out with the usual accompaniments. It was a hit! I decided to put it in the same category as oatmeal and add it to our repertoire.

This cornbread is delicious. It is not very sweet so it goes well with a slather of jam or as the boys like it, with honey or maple syrup.  And since it isn’t sweet it makes it a good companion for stew, soup, and chili. It is also a very kid friendly recipe, it has helped manage some of our time inside these past few weeks. Plenty of easy to measure ingredients and you just dump and stir, Henry loves to help with this.

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The recipe calls for both whole wheat and white flour, but only a half cup of each so you could interchange for whatever you have. Because we have been making this almost every other week, I have been inspired to keep buttermilk on hand. I prefer Katie’s brand, which I have been able to find pretty easily. I like it because it is not fat free and helps keep the cornbread from drying out. The last tip is to err on the side of under baking.

We hope you find as much comfort in this cornbread as we have over the past few weeks!

Brown Butter Skillet Cornbread
from NY Times

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup maple syrup
2 ¼ cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal, fine or medium-coarse grind
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

Heat oven to 375 degrees. On the stovetop, in a 11- or 12-inch skillet (ovenproof and preferably cast iron), melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan to lightly coat sides and bottom, until the foam subsides and the butter turns a deep nut brown. (Watch carefully to see that it does not burn.)

Pour brown butter into a large bowl. (Do not wipe out the pan.) Whisk the maple syrup into the butter, then whisk in buttermilk. The mixture should be cool to the touch; if not, let cool before whisking in the eggs. Then whisk in the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

If the skillet is no longer hot (cast iron retains heat longer than other metals), reheat it briefly on the stove for a few minutes. Scrape batter back into it. Bake until the top is just golden brown and a toothpick inserted into it emerges clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in the skillet for 10 minutes before slicing.

(We usually eat half and put the other half in the freezer for the following week. It also keeps well in the fridge and can be reheated wrapped in tinfoil, which helps it to not dry out).

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