I’ve altered the original a bit based on my experience with another great recipe that I’ll also share from The Art of Low-Calorie Cooking by Sally Schneider, a beautifully illustrated book of scrumptious recipes that represent no sacrifice whatsoever in flavor.
Key to both recipes is a well-seasoned cast-iron pan or skillet around 8-9-10 inches square, or a round 12-inch skillet. I’m not one of those authoritarian cooks who says you can’t use what you have on hand; you’ll just give up an extra crispiness to the outer surface that’s worth the effort to get a skillet and season it.
2 c. buttermilk (or 2 c. milk w/4 t. white vinegar stirred in and allowed to sour a while. I've also successfully substituted a mixture of milk and yogurt.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set the cast-iron skillet in the oven while it heats.
Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, Whisk eggs into the buttermilk or soured milk. Stir into dry ingredients.
Pour the oil or butter into the now-hot skillet and swirl it around to coat the bottom and sides. Pour in the batter and enjoy the satisfying crackle as it hits the hot pan.
Pour most of the cream into the center. I like to add another dollop centered in each of the four quarters of the pan. The cream creates a puddinglike consistency when it’s baked and will throw off your usual toothpick test for doneness.
Put the skillet into the pan and bake until golden brown on top, around 45 minutes.
KEY ITEM: If your oven browns too fast at 400 degrees, cover the top with foil after it has set up a bit (so the foil won’t stick to the batter). The picture here illustrates just what happens if you get too busy writing a blog post and neglect this step.
This is absolutely fabulous served for breakfast with maple syrup.
Crackling Corn Bread
Recipe by Sally Schneider
1 c. coarse-ground yellow cornmeal
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and put 10-inch skillet in to heat with the oven.
Combine cornmeal, salt and baking soda, Whisk together buttermilk and egg, then mix buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal and stir just until combined.
Pour the canola oil into the pan and swirl around to coat bottom and sides. Pour batter into the pan and shake slightly to spread ev enly. Bake until the bread is set and a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean—around 10-15 minutes.
I have also successfully doubled this recipe for a thicker cornbread in the same pan size. It takes closer to 40-45 minutes to cook and you’ll definitely have to cover the top with foil to prevent over-browning.