The cornbread debate has long been a Thanksgiving tradition. It always has a place on the table, but do people really like it? Isn’t it usually dry? Should it be sweet or salty? Baked in a cast iron skillet, or as individual muffins? Should there be any add-ins? Should I care this much about cornbread?! So many questions!
I’ve solved it all, friends. You should make a cornmeal cake and call that cornbread instead. Your Thanksgiving is made. No, I’m being serious. This “cornbread” is not only sweetened by the usual culprit (sugar), but it also has the added benefit of mashed sweet potatoes. Add some cinnamon and nutmeg, and seriously, you have yourself a glorious cornmeal cake, which will never be at risk of being at all dry.
But, people, if you tell people that you made the butter, no one will care about the cornbread they slather it on. If you show your guests that you cared about Thanksgiving so much that you developed the spread from scratch, you will sure to be the Thanksgiving winner. It’s creamy and delicious, and is perfect on this cornbread. A lovely salty contrast to the sweet bread.
But at the risk of sounding a bit sappy about this, my favorite holiday: it actually doesn’t matter what you make! If your table looks like this, filled with food and love, no one will remember anything else. Happy Thanksgiving!
Sweet Potato Cornbread (slightly adapted from New York Times)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for the muffin tin
- 1 large sweet potato, roasted as per these instructions, discarding the skin
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 ¼ cups milliliters milk
- ¾ cup/94 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cup/213 grams finely ground yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon/14 grams baking powder
- 1 teaspoon/6 grams salt
- ½ cup/100 grams sugar
- ½ teaspoon/1 gram ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon/1 gram ground nutmeg
- Heat oven to 450 degrees and lightly brush a 8×8 square pan with oil or melted butter.
- Mash roasted sweet potato. Measure out 1/2 cup and transfer to a large bowl. Add eggs, oil and milk to bowl and whisk well to combine.
- Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in separate large bowl. Add potato mixture and fold into dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cornbread is puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Check with a tester to make sure that it comes out clean. If it doesn’t, cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil, lower the temperature to 350, and bake for up to an additional 20 minutes, checking every 5 minutes with a tester. Let cool 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Serve with homemade butter.
Homemade Butter (recipe from Food Network)
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
- In a bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, mix together sour cream and cream on medium low speed. You may need to cover the bowl with a dish towel to make sure that the contents don’t fly everywhere.
- While it’s whisking, prepare a medium size bowl full of ice water.
- Continue to whisk, about 20-30 minutes, until the mixture thickens and the cream separates.
- Use a rubber spatula to gather up the butter and remove it from the bowl. There will be some liquid, which is the buttermilk. Gather the ball of butter together into a double layer of cheesecloth or a thin kitchen towel, twist the top to hold the contents, and plunge it into the ice bath to wash any buttermilk off the surface. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.