I know we're all a little too busy for novel-length blog posts this week, but it goes against the grain to share a recipe without at least a little bit of a backstory, so I'll give us all something to be thankful for and promise to keep it brief!
My sister, Rebecca, is a great cook - probably one of the best 'natural cooks' I know. By that I mean that she can take almost any combination of ingredients and turn them into something that's not only edible, but actually nourishing and delicious. When we were growing up, we used to split kitchen duties - I was always the baker and she was the cook. In the years since, I've managed to hold my own in the kitchen, but I still defer to my sister's expertise whenever the family gets together in front of the stove.
All this is to say that when Rebecca recommends a recipe, I pay attention, and when she recommended this pumpkin cornbread (from Tracy at Sugarcrafter), I couldn't wait to try it out. Fresh from our visit to Hilton Head Island's ROASTFISH & CORNBREAD, with its signature sweet potato cornbread, this recipe just begged to be made.
A church potluck gave me the perfect excuse to give it a try, and since I had a lot of mouths to feed and am rarely able to resist the urge to innovate, I actually ended up making three different batches of pumpkin cornbread; the first was faithful to Tracy's recipe, the second was based on an Allrecipes version, and the third was a bit of improvisation, based on Matt's feedback from the first two batches. While Matt preferred my sweeter, denser, brown-sugar-topped version (inspired by Chef David's moist and tender, sweet potato-based bread), Tracy's recipe won the popular vote, so that's the version I'm sharing. I guess that just proves I should have trusted my sister (and Tracy!) after all!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal (I used white, but yellow is also fine)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon molasses
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking pan (or a standard muffin pan).
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder,salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Stir until well blended.
In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, pumpkin, oil and molasses. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Stir until just incorporated. Batter will be thick. Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top as much as possible with the back of a spoon. if desired, top the batter with a sprinkling of brown sugar before baking.
Bake for 30 minutes (18-22 minutes for muffins), or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm, with chili or as an accompaniment to a Thanksgiving feast!
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