I’m from Georgia so me and cornbread have always gotten along very well. Cornbread is a simple yet classic southern staple that almost any southerner has a version of in their recipe box. And this is the time of year when I really start to crave it. October is now here and though I’m still saying “where did summer go?!” I’m finally starting to settle into the things I love so much about the fall. From the beautiful deep hues of orange and red on the trees, the plethora of autumn vegetables that practically beg to be picked up from the market, and the crisp cool days and cooler still nights that make you want to get cozy on the couch with something warm in your hands, fall is a wonderful season. And it’s a chance to get creative in the kitchen with richly spiced soups, stews, and dutch oven comfort food. One of my favorite ways to enjoy cornbread is with chili or a really aromatic soup. On a cold day when you’d rather just stay put in the house and maybe watch a game or a good movie, chili and cornbread can really hit the spot. Here is one of my favorite versions. I sift it and use creamed corn and milk instead of the traditional buttermilk to give it a really smooth texture. Then I top it with a creamy maple butter sprinkled with a bit of sea salt. This one may be a bit funkier and jazzed up from what I grew up with but at the end of the day, it's still good old southern cornbread.
Creamed Corn Skillet Cornbread with Maple Butter
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
¾ cup creamed corn
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons good maple syrup
Coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are using a cast iron skillet (preferred; standard 9 or 10 inch works well. I also sometimes use miniature cast iron skillets), put the skillet in the oven to preheat. You can also use a glass dish, that works just fine. Over a large mixing bowl dump the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder into a sifter and sift the ingredients into the bowl. You can of course skip the sifting if you don’t have a sifter and just whisk together but sifting helps to give the cornbread a softer texture. Add the kosher salt and sugar and whisk the dry ingredients together. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs until fluffy (20 seconds or so). Add the milk and creamed corn and whisk together. Pour the wet ingredients into the large mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and whisk everything together.
By now your skillet should be nice and hot from the oven. Remove the skillet and pour the oil into the hot skillet (caution-cast iron gets hella hot). Swirl the oil around the skillet, getting the sides covered as well. Don’t worry about getting every square inch; the oil will rise when you pour the batter in anyway so it will get to where it needs to go. Pour the batter into the skillet and put the skillet in the oven. Cook for 20-22 minutes until the cornbread is golden brown on top.
While the cornbread is cooking, make the maple butter. In an electric mixer, blender, or food processor add the room temperature butter and the maple syrup. Mix until the mixture is blended and smooth. Use a spatula to scrape into a dish and refrigerate until you are ready to use. The maple butter is simple and can be made days ahead. When you are ready to serve the cornbread, serve it alongside the maple butter and sprinkle the maple butter with a bit of coarse sea salt. Enjoy!