The Baketrix: Cornbread with Fennel Seeds, Cranberries, and Raisins
Halloween has passed and that means it’s officially time to start talking turkey. Mmmmmmmmmm turkey. The Baketrix here presents you with an idea for a lovely turkey side dish–a tangy, savory twist on traditional cornbread.
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Oh Corn, sweet corn…
I have a love/hate relationship with corn–or, rather, the manufacturers of corn by-products. As a testament to a shocking article in National Geographic that found that Americans have more corn genes in their blood stream than those living in Mexico where corn is the main staple, I am drawn to corn. Especially when I’m sick, I need me some comfort food, and all I want is a bowl of chicken matzo ball soup and a huge hunk of cornbread. I used to be fan of Marie Callendar’s cornbread for it’s cake-like texture, smothered in their famous honey butter. However, I have evolved in my cornbread repertoire and have found this amazing recipe for a sweet and full-flavored cornbread.
I found it one turkey holiday celebration when I was assigned with the gigantic task of supplying the cornbread. Now, this was a huge responsibility, and if I didn’t get it right, well–it meant the ruining of a time-honored tradition of cornbread and turkey (growing up the cornbread was replaced by Japanese short grain rice = yummy). I decided to cover my bases and baked a savory and sweet bread. Here’s the recipe I found and is now a favorite.
Corn Bread with Fennel Seeds, Dried Cranberries, and Golden Raisins
Adapted from Gourmet November 2001–I made slight changes in the mixing, so for unaltered recipe look for it online.
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour (substitute white whole wheat for healthier choice)
2/3 c. yellow cornmeal (not coarse)
1/3 c. sugar (substitute evaporated cane sugar for healthier choice)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 c.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. well-shaken buttermilk (for the lactose intolerant, substitute with almond milk and add vinegar – for every 1/2 c. of buttermilk, use 1 1/2 tsp. distilled white vinegar)
1/2 c. golden raisins, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. fennel seeds, coarsely crushed with mortar and pestle or pulsed in an electric coffee/spice grinder (I ran out and tried substituting with caraway seeds, which gave it a more savory and less sweet flavor)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a square baking pan with butter and lightly coat with flour or cornmeal.
Whisk together butter, eggs and buttermilk in large bowl. Using a strainer, sift and stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking power, baking soda, and salt. Add dry mix to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. Stir in raisins, cranberries and fennel seeds.
Pour into pan, bake until top is pale golden and tester comes out clean–I find 25-30 minutes to be the right amount in my oven. Cool on rack for 10 minutes then invert to cool completely…I usually can’t wait and just take a piping hot piece at that point! Someone’s got to test it to make sure it’s edible and can be shared with friends, right?!