Maple Cornbread

Is cornbread a cake or a bread? Cornbread is one of those recipes that doesn’t perfectly fall into the world of “sweet” or “savory”. So lets make it drop into one of those worlds. I would call this recipe a corn-cake not a cornbread. With the maple, toffee, and pecans, this cornbread is definitely a dessert. A damn good one too…

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • For the corn “cake”
    • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
    • ¾ cup fine cornmeal
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • 1 stick brown butter, chilled + 2 tbs
    • 1 tsp oil
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • 1 egg
    • ½ cup sugar
  • For the maple toffee sauce
    • 4 tbs unsalted butter
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ½ cup maple syrup
    • 3 tbs rum
    • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup toasted pecans

Procedure

  • For the cornbread
    • Heat a pan on medium heat and brown the butter in it
      • Keep swirling the pan to prevent spattering and cook on medium heat until fragrant and the milk solids have browned
    • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and heat up your cast iron skillet as the oven heats
    • Remove butter from the heat and cool in the fridge until solid
    • Add the butter into a bowl and cream with the sugar and molasses
    • Once pale and fluffy, add the add and keep whisking until homogenous
    • Add in all the other ingredients and fold in with a spatula, preventing overmixing
    • Remove the hot skillet from the oven and let 2 tbs butter and oil melt through
      • Grease the sides of the skillet as well
    • Pour the batter into the skillet, flatten and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean
    • Invert out onto a cooling rack
  • For the maple toffee sauce
    • Add the butter and sugar into a saucepan and heat until the butter and sugar is melted and bubbling
    • Add in the maple, salt and rum and cook on low heat until the alcohol cooks and the sauce thickens
  • Chop the pecans and roast on a baking sheet at 350 for 5-10 minutes or until nutty and fragrant
  • Glaze the cornbread while hot and top with the toasted pecans
  • Serve hot

Chef’s notes:

  • Browning the butter is optional but helps give the cornbread another layer of depth. Be careful while you make it. If you leave it unattended, it might spatter and hurt your skin. 
  • Remove the brown butter when it is a shade less dark than what you want. It will continue to darken as it cools
  • When using baking soda, make sure you use something acidic like buttermilk to create a reaction. Baking soda is alkali, buttermilk is acid and acid and alkali react to produce “lift”

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