There is nothing more classic than Kentucky cornbread. This simple and delicious recipe took some experimentation (We made so many mistakes) to get the perfect mix of sugar, maple syrup, bourbon and cornmeal. We must have finally got it right since our son-in-law, a lifetime Kentuckian, said he liked it as much as his Gramma’s cornbread, but don’t tell her.
Of course, we know all about the attitudes toward Yankee versus Southern cornbread. We know that Southern cornbread is savory, and many Southerners seem to hate that sweet Yankee cornbread. They also want it dominated by cornmeal not flour, and many only use buttermilk. Well, good softened butter, with good milk, is better than most buttermilk. Southern style Bourbon, smoked bacon grease and a good proportion of cornmeal matches well with the more Northern concepts of sugar and maple syrup. We think this blend delivers a sweet and savory balance.
So, give it a try. You might just be as surprised as our son-in-law. You should also serve the daylights out of it with our Touchdown Chili, and don’t forget that bourbon and bacon grease my friends.
- 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Cornmeal
- 7/8 Cup White Granulated Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/4 Cups of Whole Milk
- 1/8 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
- 2 Eggs Lightly Beaten
- 1 Teaspoon Bourbon
- 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Softened Butter
- 2 Slices of Bacon plus an Additional Tablespoon of Butter (Bacon Grease/Butter Mixed to Line the Pan)
- Always use higher quality pure maple syrup, butter and cornmeal.
- Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine to form batter.
- Pre-heat oven on bake at 400 degrees.
- Always use cast iron pans (12 inch), or cornbread molds. You want the crunch on the outside that only cast iron with a little bacon grease can provide.
- Cook 2 slices of bacon. Then remove the bacon (a treat for your dogs?). Melt an additional Tablespoon of butter with the remaining bacon grease. Swirl it around to cover the pan surface and sides. Then let it cool BEFORE putting the batter in the pans.
- Pour batter (Yep, it should pour with a little urging) into the pan and cook for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. If I use a mold with smaller proportions, like you would find with a typical cast iron corn mold, I check the bread at 18 minutes to make sure it doesn’t overcook. All ovens are different so check your bread with a toothpick by inserting it into the middle of the cornbread a couple minutes before removing it from the oven. If the toothpick comes out clean without batter sticking to it, and you’ve got a nice golden brown color on the bread as illustrated in the picture, it’s ready to go. If not, let it continue to cook until the toothpick is clean.
- After removing it from the oven, rub a little more butter over the top of the cornbread and then let it rest in the pan for 3 minutes.
- Slice the cornbread in the pan and serve.