Browned Butter Cornbread

browned butter cornbread

Browned butter cornbread, hot out of the oven.

I’m pretty sure that my great-grandmother from Shelbyville, TN never made cornbread with browned butter, or, without bacon grease/fat for that matter. Well, I did adhere to one Southern tradition when I made my version of cornbread: no sugar. I’m not a fan of sweet cornbread, I it like more savory. But, if you like a slightly sweeter bread, by all means, add the tablespoon of sugar. Also, I think the browned butter adds a deeper, nuttier flavor to the cornbread. I think the next time I make this I’ll add some grilled corn off the cob. I only had some sad, old frozen corn, which, after heating up in the microwave tasted like, well, old corn (yuck). I suppose I should clean out my freezer….but, that’s for another day!

*Recipe slightly adapted from Paula Deen

  • 6 TB unsalted butter, browned, plus butter for baking dish
  • 1 C cornmeal
  • 3/4 C AP flour
  • 1 TB sugar (Optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Brown your butter and set aside to cool.

That extra 2 TB of butter you have from the stick you cut earlier? Use that, or most of it to grease your 8×8 baking dish.

Mix all dry ingredients into a large bowl, set aside. Once the browned butter is cooled, add the slightly beaten eggs and buttermilk, stir. Then add wet ingredients to dry and mix well, making sure you get out all the dry parts (you don’t want any pockets of batter with dry bits because nothing is more gross than biting into a baked good and getting a bite with dried bits of flour.) The batter will be slightly lumpy and that’s okay. Bake until top is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. Mine took exactly 20 min. Let it cool and then eat. I’m going to have mine with a bowl of vegetarian chili for dinner.

Avocado Egg Toast…

oops, I ate the other half of bread.

oops, I ate the other half of bread. Yes, that is a Zabar’s coffee mug!

…it’s what’s for breakfast! I’ve been on a hardboiled egg kick that I think started with having a salad last week with egg, avocado, greens and a spicy cilantro-lime dressing. I’d forgotten how much I love the combination of egg and avocado. I even ate it one evening for dinner following a softball game. There really isn’t anything fancy or overly-complicated or cutesy about this breakfast (or, lunch or dinner). It’s quite simple:

    toast your favorite bread
    drizzle a little olive oil on bread
    spread 1/2 of a an avocado on bread
    put sliced hardboiled eggs on top
    salt and pepper to taste
    sliced tomatoes on the side (optional)

You’re done. Now go do something productive.

Roasted Chickpeas

Need a quick (and somewhat healthy) snack for yourself, or maybe your impending dinner party guests? Roast some chickpeas! This is a quick and easy recipe for the holidays, or, any time. I made mine a little garlicky and spicy, but, play around with the spices–herbs de Provence, crushed red pepper and curry, lemon pepper seasoning, or, whatever you like. There are endless flavor combinations.

  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • dash or two of garlic salt

Line a rimmed baking sheet (or regular sheet) with parchment paper and set oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and drain chickpeas, pat dry with paper towels. Put chickpeas in medium sized bowl and fully coat with olive oil. Don’t add spices yet as they will burn in the oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes or, until the beans are crisp and browned. (Note: some may burst open and that’s totally fine). Get that bowl you previously used and pick up parchment/beans and transfer to the bowl. Add spices and stir with spoon until fully coated. These are good warm and will be crispy. They do tend to lose some crunch once they’re cooled. Enjoy!

roastedchickpeas2

roastedchickpeas

Browned Butter Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

browned butter pumpkin bread w/chocolate chips

browned butter pumpkin bread w/chocolate chips

This recipe is different in that, I used browned butter, rather than vegetable or canola oil. The nuttiness of the browned butter lends another layer to the pumpkin and spices and has a more complex flavor than my normal pumpkin bread. Plus, I am on “team browned butter makes everything better,” because, well, it most certainly does.

  • 3 1/2 C AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice*
  • 1 C unsalted butter, browned and cooled
  • 1 C canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 C milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C mini semi sweet chocolate chips or, 1 C dark chocolate chips

Spray two 8″x4″ loaf pans and set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees

To brown butter: add two sticks to saucepan, on low to medium heat. Let butter melt, then froth/bubble up, stir it with spatula in order to prevent burning. The bubbles will die down and the butter will start to crackle. The proteins of the butter are sinking to the bottom and after a second bubbling, the bits on the bottom will start to turn a little brown and the butter will change to a more amber color. This whole process will take about 4-5 minutes. Don’t burn the butter, we want it browned. Remove from heat and transfer melted butter and brown bits to a bowl to cool. (We don’t want to add hot butter to the eggs because we don’t want scrambled eggs).

*Note: As always, you can adjust the spices to your taste. I didn’t have enough pumpkin pie spice, so, I had to add a little ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and freshly grated nutmeg.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. When the butter has cooled, add to beaten eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin vanilla and milk. Stir until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and add chocolate chips. If you find that the mixture is too dry, add a little bit more milk. Divide dough between the loaf pans, bake at 350 for 45-50 min. Check the bread with a toothpick in the center to see if the bread is done. Cool on baking racks. Or, have a warm slice…like I just did.

Pumpkin Pecan Biscuits, Take II

Pumpkin-Pecan biscuits!

Pumpkin-Pecan biscuits!

I sit here with a cup of coffee, a purring cat by my side and blustery winds outside (it’s not really that cold, maybe 50 degrees, but my apartment is cold). The morning sun is reflecting off the houses and it’s very quiet outside. Saturday is my favorite day.
Sometimes I make mistakes…I mean, how else will I learn? After the first try, I decided to scrap the previous recipe and re-do it by adding more cold butter and substituting a little dark brown sugar for honey. I also made my own buttermilk (see below). These actually taste and look like biscuits. The previous recipe results looked like lumpy scones and didn’t taste very good at all. These are light, flaky, layered biscuits. The extra flour and butter definitely helps too. I think this recipe is far better!

To make buttermilk: 1 cup milk + 1 TB or fresh lemon juice. Add juice to milk and stir. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or, until it thickens. Use as you would regular buttermilk.

  • 2 1/4 C. AP flour
  • 1 1/2 TB baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 TB chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 C. canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 C. buttermilk
  • dash of vanilla
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C. chopped, toasted pecans (in 2 TB of butter)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop and toast pecans in a skillet in two tablespoons of butter, set aside to cool. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, cut in butter with a pastry cutter or, with hands, until butter is the size of peas or tiny pebbles, set aside (If you’ve handled it too much and the butter pieces are warm, chill the dry ingredients while you deal with the wet ingredients). In a medium sized bowl, whisk the buttermilk and brown sugar, add vanilla and pumpkin. Stir until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in toasted pecans. If you find that the dough is a little sticky, don’t fret, add a little flour and use your hands or a spoon to mix it. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and press into a rectangle until the dough is about 1 inch thick all around. Also, try not to over handle the dough, as the butter will warm up (which you don’t want). If the dough becomes too warm or sticky, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. Press (don’t twist, or else the biscuits won’t have layers) biscuit cutters into dough and place onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. The dough makes about 12-14 biscuits. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or, until slightly golden brown. You’ll be able to tell when they’re done. Serve warm with some whipped honey, or, like I did, with butter. Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator or, wrap up in wax paper and foil in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.

Before I took the biscuits out of the oven, I switched on my Pandora Charlie Parker station…the song that played? “April in Paris.” Weird coincidence? I think not. My heart goes out to all the people of Paris. Je suis Français.