Skillet Cornbread With Orange-Blossom Honey Butter

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Grandma Pearl could cook!

When I was growing up she baked buttermilk cornbread at least once, sometimes twice a week. Southern-style of course — with bacon grease or lard — the way she had been taught by her mother when she lived at home in Kentucky.

Walking through her front door I could smell the aroma of something special simmering on the stove… usually bean soup, fried chicken and fresh-baked cornbread in a black cast-iron skillet.

She enjoyed cooking for her big family and would often call to say she had one of my favorite meals ready and hoped I would stop by. Of course I did, and often… along with many in the family.

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Sometimes I would call her on the telephone for a recipe and she would instruct me as we talked and I measured and poured ingredients into a mixing bowl. She remembered everything from memory and by heart.

If only I had taken the time to jot them down…

Last week I baked several versions of cornbread and even traded a few ideas with my uncle as we worked to duplicate Grandma’s loaf.

And this is it!

This buttermilk cornbread has the same delicious flavor, texture and moistness we both recall and loved.

I have eaten three loaves by myself.

It’s so good piping hot from the oven and slathered in butter. Or, try serving it with these sautéed vegetables or this ham and bean soup.

Now… I don’t use lard in my cornbread and Grandma only used real butter, but this honey butter is quite delicious and worth a try, too.

Skillet Cornbread With Orange Blossom Honey Butter

2 to 3 teaspoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil
2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1-3/4 cups white or yellow cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Butter or Orange-Blossom Honey Butter (recipe below), optional

Cornbread Preparation
Coat bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with bacon drippings or vegetable oil; heat in a 450° oven for 10 minutes.

Whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add cornmeal, stirring well.

Stir in baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour batter into hot skillet and bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Serve with Orange-Blossom Honey Butter or regular butter if you like.

Orange-Blossom Honey Butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 Tbsp Orange-Blossom Honey
sprinkle of orange zest

In a small bowl, whip butter until light and fluffy. Mix in honey and sprinkle orange zest over the top. Refrigerate 15 minutes and serve.

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