Buttermilk Cornbread

Store-bought bread is fine for making most kinds of bread stuffing, but for cornbread stuffing, I think it's best to make your own. This cornbread, adapted from a recipe by contributing editor Pam Anderson, is noteworthy because it doesn't call for any wheat flour, so it's bursting with corn flavor. Use it to make cornbread stuffing or serve it warm, slathered with butter and honey or maple syrup.

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Servings: 8
Related Categories: Bread, Corn Bread, Seasonal, Thanksgiving, Winter
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    1 1/2  cups 
    yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
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    1   tablespoon 
    granulated sugar
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    1 1/2  teaspoons 
    baking powder
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    3/4  teaspoon 
    table salt
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    1/4  teaspoon 
    baking soda
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    1 1/4  cups 
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    large egg
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    large egg yolk
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    2   tablespoons 
    unsalted butter or rendered bacon fat, cut into two pieces

Position a rack in the center of the oven and place a 10- to 11-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch-square metal baking pan on the rack. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Bring a small kettle of water to a boil. While the water comes to a boil, put 1/2 cup of the cornmeal in a medium mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup cornmeal with the sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
Pour 1/2 cup of the boiling water into the 1/2 cup of cornmeal and stir until the cornmeal becomes a thick mush. Whisk the buttermilk into the mush until smooth, then whisk in the egg and egg yolk.
When the oven and pan are fully heated, stir the dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture. Remove the hot pan from the oven and add the butter or bacon fat, carefully swirling it around the pan until it's melted and has coated the pan--it's fine if the butter browns. Immediately pour the excess butter or fat into the batter, stir to combine, then scrape the batter into the skillet or pan.
Bake until the cornbread has pulled away from the sides of the pan and is golden on top, 18 to 20 minutes. Immediately turn the cornbread out onto a cooling rack. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving, or cool completely if using for stuffing.
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