Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vanilla Cornbread Surprise

I have a confession. Christian cheats on me. He'll sneak off to secret trysts in the kitchen, hoping I won't follow him and find out the truth. But, I already know about his sneaky ways. I can hear the mixing bowls clanking together from the other room, and his frantic ripping open of packaging. Scents gently billowing from the warm oven assault my nose ...

That boy! He's always into the Jiffy cornbread! What a flirt!

Knowing his weakness, the day finally came when I caved to his pleading, and his constant puppy-dog eyes. He needed cornbread. A sweet, grainy bit of fluff; perfect for accompanying stews and spicy sauced chicken. But, his sad eyes told me, he wanted me to make it.

I suppose I can consider this a truce. We'll have the cornbread, but this time, it won't come from a box. I scoured the internet for the perfect recipe. Of course, the wonderful Karina Allrich of Gluten-Free Goddess came through for me. Her skillet cornbread held me mesmerized to the page.

Figuring I could simply follow her instructions for all-purpose flour, I copied down the recipe. Of course as soon as I pulled out the mixing bowls, I couldn't resist a few changes. I took Karina's wonderful advice to change the recipe from delightfully spicy to beautifully sweet, then added even more of a vanilla boost with some wonderful vanilla infused olive oil from the people at ___. I substituted all-purpose whole wheat flour for regular, and doubled the cinnamon. Next time I think I'll try cardamom instead.

We ate the whole skillet of bread in a day. Wow, cornbread never tasted so good. I might even start to reach for it too, just not the boxed stuff. I'm a skillet convert.

Karina's Skillet Cornbread, in Vanilla (click for original recipe)
serves 8-10

What You'll Need:
A 10 inch iron skillet, seasoned*

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine grain kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cup vanilla infused olive oil (or simply double your vanilla)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup skim milk

What You'll Do:
1. Preheat your oven to 375

2. In a large bowl, combine your cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well to incorporate. Add in cinnamon and light brown sugar and mix again.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs lightly. Add in olive oil, vanilla extract and milk and mix well.

4. Add your wet ingredients to your dry and mix briefly until dry ingredients are just wet.

5. Warm your skillet over a medium-high heat. Add your batter to the skillet and top with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

6. Bake in center of oven for 20-25 minutes, or until firm and slightly darker around the edges.**

7. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting, then enjoy!

*If you don't have an iron skillet, you can line muffin tins with paper cups and make corn muffins. Just reduce the baking time to 18-20 minutes and enjoy!

**If using whole wheat flour, be aware that your cornbread will be a darker, richer color than the cornbread you are used to. This means the edges of your bread will be much closer to a brown than a gold.

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