Friday, January 3, 2014

Sweet Potato Cornbread (adapted from Paula Deen's recipe)

I'm not feeling listy today - so I'm forgoing my normal Five on Friday post. Since returning home from the holidays away, I've been cooking up a storm - I guess 8 days away will bring out my nesting instinct.

I can get behind a lot of Southern food - in fact I haven't met much Southern food I don't like...but I have a bone to pick with the lack of sweet cornbread. Us Northerners like our cornbread sweet and cakey. I got sick and tired of buying the packets of cornbread mix only to bake up a dry, salty cornbread. And this comes from a girl with a serious love of salt. I set out to find a good recipe to replace the store bought mixes and have finally found one I really like.

Sweet potato cornbread first caught my eye on Pinterest, but I couldn't fathom using 4 eggs and a stick of butter for one pan of bread, so I Googled until I found Paula Deen's Sweet Potato Cornbread recipe. I made it once and it was ALMOST perfect, but still not sweet enough - so the second time I made it, I added two tablespoons of honey to the wet ingredients, in addition to the white sugar called for in the dry ingredients. The result was perfect: moist, just sweet enough cornbread which has been getting even moister and more delicious as the days go on.

Sweet Potato Cornbread - adapted from Paula Deen


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey (this is optional, if you like traditional Southern cornbread, leave it out)
1 cup buttermilk (I used my new favorite cooking hack, a tablespoon of white vinegar then filled the rest of the cup measure with 1% milk and waited 5 minutes)
1 ½ cup peeled and grated sweet potato (I just used one large sweet potato, which I prepared in the microwave - directions below.)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

To prepare sweet potato: Scrub sweet potato to remove dirt. Pierce the sweet potato about 10-15 times with a knife so it doesn't explode as it cooks. Wrap potato in a damp paper towel and place in the microwave. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip it over and cook for another 4 minutes. (Make sure your entire paper towel is damp, I've had it turn a little brown in some spots when I don't dampen it enough - wouldn't want to contribute to any microwave disaster!) Let the sweet potato cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with two forks, or your fingers until mixture is crumbly.

In a medium mixing bowl beat egg until frothy. Stir in buttermilk (or milk/vinegar mixture), honey, and sweet potatoes (remove the skin and mash the sweet potato into the wet ingredients.) Pour mixture into flour mixture stirring just until blended. Pour batter into greased 9x9x2 inch baking dish.

Bake 20 minutes or until center springs back when pressed. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

This is my new go-to cornbread recipe. It's a beautiful gold color with flecks of orange from the sweet potato.

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