Adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe in The New York Times. I know we have three other cornbread recipes, but this is the only one with our beloved maple syrup supplied from Highland County, Virginia, by Uncle Steve.
When we tried this recipe on New Year’s Day 2018, I cut the recipe amounts in half but put in all 3 eggs by mistake. The cornbread was wonderful and of course the extra eggs make it more nutritious. So we are leaving 3 eggs in the ingredients.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup and 2 tablespoons buttermilk
3 large eggs
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal, fine or medium-coarse grind
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Heat oven to 375ºF. On the stovetop, in a 9-inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan to lightly coat sides and bottom, until the foam subsides and the butter turns a deep nut brown. (Watch carefully to see that it does not burn.)
Pour brown butter into a large bowl. (Do not wipe out the pan.) Whisk the maple syrup into the butter in the bowl, then whisk in buttermilk. The mixture should be cool to the touch; if not, let cool before whisking in the eggs.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add to liquid mixture and whisk only until the dry ingredients vanish.
Reheat the skillet briefly on the stove for a few minutes so that skillet and butter are very hot. Scrape batter back into the skillet. Bake in the oven until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into it emerges clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in the skillet for 10 minutes before slicing.
Note: if you have a 12-inch skillet, you can double this recipe, but use the same 3 eggs. Our Gransbest mathematicians have worked out the areas of the two skillets (as we all remember, it’s πr**2) and verified that a 9-inch skillet has a little more than half the area of a 12-inch skillet:
Area of 12-inch iron skillet: 3.14*(6**2)=113 square inches
Area of 9-inch iron skillet: 3.14*(4.5**2)=64 square inches