1 C. milk
1/4 C. butter or margarine, melted (come on…use butter)
1 large egg
1 1/4 C. yellow, white or blue cornmeal (I used yellow)
1 C. all-purpose flour (Betty’s note: if using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt)
1/2 C. sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 – 1/3 C. canola/vegetable oil for the pan
Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. My version of this recipe calls for using a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, just use a 9″ round pan or an 8″ square pan, greased on the bottom and sides with plenty of shortening. (Seriously, slop it on there. The shortening will help to give the cornbread a little bit of yummy crust, the same way the oil does in the cast iron skillet. Perhaps just not as crunchy.)
If you are using a cast iron skillet, begin heating it (empty) over medium heat. It’s ready when it’s smoking (that’s my method anyway: “oh no! fire! hurry up the batter!”) or when water flicked onto the surface bubbles and sizzles.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the milk, butter, and egg with a wire whisk. Stir in the remaining ingredients at once just until the flour is moistened. The batter will be lumpy.
Here you’ll need to pour the oil into the hot skillet (caaaareful…) and it should begin bubbling and sizzling just like the water did when you tested it.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan, or into the preheated cast iron skillet. The oil will flow up and over the sides of the batter, creating the beginnings of a delicious crust.
Bake the cornbread for 20-25 minutes or until it is golden brown. You can use the toothpick method (insert one into the center and if it comes out clean, the bread is done). But if the cornbread is browning on the edges, you should be done.
Serve warm if desired (and I do). It’s great the next day, too, especially with jam for breakfast or with some butter as snack or lunch.
If you’re invited to a last-minute BBQ this summer, or have unexpected guests any day of the year, you are all set.