Cornbread & Comfort CookingPosted: October 5, 2011
I love the whole culinary tradition of the American South: comfort food, soul food, Cajun cooking, creamed spinach, mint juleps, peach cobblers, porchside sweet iced tea, and hot buttered biscuits. It’s almost too much. Eating food like these little cornbread cakes makes me feel like I’m in a Tennessee Williams play, all gauzy dresses and steamy streets. We had the steaminess here alright, because up until yesterday the weather was so warm that I did nothing but sit on my balcony and look at the trees, drinks beers outside, eat macaroni and cheese and imagine the Spanish moss of Savannah. It’s like the summer London never had–July temperatures in early October.
This cornbread is so simple and nourishing, worthy of a fall picnic or a Paula Deen special. Their pale golden color reminds me of the beautiful sunshine we’re having. This recipe, which comes from a Texan-turned-New Yorker, is lovely; it turned out alright even after I’d forgotten a whole stick of butter and had to work it in post-buttermilk. My mum took some of these with her to a potluck, and I ate the rest for breakfast with honey. Butter, sugar and crunchy cornmeal make for a very satisfying breakfast indeed.
Sweet Cornbread (adapted from Homesick Texan)
- 3 cups cake and pastry flour
- 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 sticks (226 grams) cold, cubed butter
- 1 cup buttermilk
Mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or two knives until the crumbs are the size of peas. Add the buttermilk and stir until it all comes together. Chill the dough for an hour. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Roll out to a thickness of 3/4-inch and cut into whatever shapes you like. (My dough was incredibly sticky, so I ended up rolling them into little balls and flattening them.) Brush your cornbread cakes with milk for a nice golden finish and put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
Makes around 20 cornbread cakes, depending on the size of your cookie cutters