I believe I’ve mentioned that my hubby isn’t big into breakfast breads, or at least the sweet ones (he does love biscuits and bacon gravy). The one exception here is cornbread. True, I grew up having maple syrup on mine, and he grew up with honey, but everyone in the house likes cornbread (even if I DON’T like the crumbs that end up all over the floor every time we eat it). I’ve been making the recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook for years, but every once in a while I branch out and try something different–just to see what’s out there. Last Friday I tried this recipe for The Best Cornbread–no expectations there, right?–and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
To begin with, the recipe calls for you to mix the cornmeal with buttermilk and let it rest at room temperature for half an hour; this wouldn’t have been a big deal, particularly, except that I didn’t see that beforehand. That, coupled with the unfortunate frozen state of my buttermilk (the back of my fridge gets fairly cold), meant that we ate a bit later than I’d intended; it also meant that I didn’t feel like taking the time to let it cool, even though it specifically said to. Sadly, it would have been better if I’d taken the time anyway; I wasn’t super impressed with it hot out of the oven. When I tried a piece the next morning I was amazed at how much better I found the flavor to be (not to mention the fact that what was gummy when hot was rather nicely moist the following day).
I’m not sure I want to replace my usual recipe with this one, though, even if I’m not likely to make egregious logistical errors again. I rather like the coarse quality of cornbread, which this one lacked; I also like the butter/sugar flavor profile. When you throw honey and applesauce into the mix it changes the flavor, and while it isn’t bad that way, I’m not sure it’s my preference. This one was also flatter, which made slicing it in half to put butter and honey or syrup on top was a bit harder. Bottom line? This one is probably worth trying if you like cornbread, since my issues were all definitively preference issues, but make sure you plan for the resting and cooling times.
And don’t store buttermilk in the very back of your fridge.