Why It Works
- Preheating the pan and coating it with butter creates a dark crust with a light nutty flavor.
- Adding honey enhances the sweetness, which balances out the tart cranberries.
- Using sour cream along with buttermilk increases the mild tanginess and overall flavor of the bread.
- Adding a little oil to the batter results in a more cake-like moistness.
If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving twist on Northern-style cornbread, this one was inspired by my cranberry sauce experience. I picked up a bag of fresh cranberries and roughly chopped a cup of them to mix into my batter.
Since fresh cranberries are so tart, I upped the sweetness level to balance things out. I started by swapping the white sugar for light brown sugar, to impart a little molasses flavor, and then added 1/3 cup of honey on top that. Finally, since cranberry and orange have been such a great pair in my cranberry sauces, I added in the zest from one orange to cash in on that fruitful marriage.
This ended up being one of my favorites of all of the cornbread recipes I made (if you’d like to make a few more variations, try maple walnut, jalapeño, roasted red pepper, or cheddar bacon scallion). The honey adds a really nice sweetness, while the brown sugar gives that light molasses touch I was looking for. Both are enough to keep the cranberries from coming across as bitter or astringent. Instead, they're transformed into pleasing pockets of mild tartness that contrast brightly with the otherwise sweet bread.
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly, plus 1 additional tablespoon for pan
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon zest from 1 orange
Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C). In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, buttermilk, honey, eggs, 3 tablespoons melted butter, and canola oil. Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and whisk until completely combined. Stir in cranberries and orange zest.
Using pot holders, carefully remove hot pan from oven. Place 1 tablespoon butter in skillet and swirl to completely melt and coat inside of pan. Pour in cornbread batter and place in oven. Bake until skewer inserted into middle of cornbread comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out to wire rack and let cool an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately. Reheat any leftover cornbread before serving again.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 8 to 10|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 12g||16%|
|Saturated Fat 5g||27%|
|Total Carbohydrate 40g||15%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||6%|
|Total Sugars 20g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||13%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|