Freshly baked cornbread is so easy to prepare that there seems to be no real reason for the packaged stuff to exist. And, especially if you are making a cornbread stuffing for a holiday turkey, the boxed mix is too sweet. This sweet-and-savory quick bread works on its own to fill out a menu, or as the basis of a great dressing to fill your bird. If you like your cornbread on the sweet side, use the sugar, but use unsweetened cornbread for a stuffing.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 Servings
1¼ cups yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
¾ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, if using, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and make a well in the center.
3. Place the butter in an 8-inch square baking dish and place in the oven to melt the butter and heat the dish, about 3 minutes.
4. Whisk together the milk and egg in a small bowl. Whisk the melted butter from the baking dish into the milk mixture. Pour into the well in the dry ingredients and stir just until blended; a few lumps may remain. Do not overmix. Fold in the cranberries and sage. Spread evenly in the hot baking dish and return to the oven.
5. Bake until golden brown and the top of the bread springs back when pressed in the center, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut into squares to serve hot or warm.
Cranberry and Sage Cornbread for Stuffing: Double the ingredients, leave out the sugar, and bake in a 15 × 10-inch baking dish for about 25 minutes.