Maple Bacon Cornbread

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and I know we are all dying to tear into those once-a-year favorites: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes….. mmmm….. I know that many household traditions include cornbread, often in the form of cornbread stuffing. Well it just so happens that I have a killer cornbread recipe with a New England twist that will go perfectly with your Thanksgiving feast. That’s the right, the title says it all: Maple Bacon Cornbread. It’s a winner, and the best part is you get to see how to make it!

The secret ingredient for any cornbread (in my opinion) is cast iron: you need that rocket-hot heavy metal pan to make the golden crust that makes cornbread cornbread. Mmm. And the good news is if you’re not a fan of maple and bacon, or you want to keep it plain so you can stuff your bird with it, then just simply leave out the maple and the bacon. If you want to use this bread for stuffing, you’ll want to make it a day in advance and leave it out on the counter so it gets a bit stale. Stale bread means flavorful stuffing! Yum!

Be sure to watch and share the video with all your friends!!

 Maple Bacon Cornbread – Recipe PDF

Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Egg Nog Icing

Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Egg Nog IcingSo I know the holidays are over, but come on, there is still plenty of time for gingerbread. This year I started a new Christmas morning tradition with my parents by baking my favorite gingerbread recipe. Not overly crunchy decorated cookies, not a house, but a warm, spicy, moist, real old fashioned gingerbread. This is a recipe I love to make at the very beginning of a party. As it bakes it fills your house with the most incredible aroma – warm, inviting, unmistakable. It wafts down the hallways and turns heads. My favorite thing is when people enter my hallway in my building and immediately ask (in reference to the aroma), “is that you?” Oh yes, that is me. As long as you’re talking about the gingerbread and not the poorly ventilated trash chute…

This recipe that I speak so highly about is actually not my own, but one I came upon some years ago on a quest for really good gingerbread. Amongst all the recipes I found, it was one from Emeril Lagasse that I decided to try and I certainly picked a winner. What makes it special is the use of Guiness – a whole cup. What more needs to be said? I also love that it calls for Turbinado Sugar (aka raw sugar – the big brown crystals). The combination gives it such a warm and earthy depth. I promise you’ll love it.

Now you’ll notice that Emeril gives instructions for a spiced creme anglaise to serve with the bread. The starving artist says eff that – isn’t it enough that I’m baking a cake? Truth be told, it *does* need something to put on top of it as the cake itself is not that sweet (another reason it’s so fantastic). I came up with a very easy and festive alternative: egg nog icing. Need I say more?

Gingerbread Recipe

Egg Nog Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Egg Nog
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch grated nutmeg
2 tsp Brandy (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together. Done. I like the icing to be a little loose for this recipe – if you want it thicker, reduce the amount of egg no.

Maple Bacon Cornbread

I definitely have an unhealthy obsession with cornbread. There’s something about the sweet, crumbly, yellow bread, warm and covered in melting butter that just hits all the right buttons. But not all cornbread is created equal, oh no. I’ve had many a disappointing pieces of cornbread: dry, not sweet enough, grainy texture, too dense, etc, etc.  Not long ago I went on a mission to create a cornbread recipe that makes cornbread just the way I like it: sweet, buttery, a bit of crunch on the outside, and a little crumbly. After numerous tests, variations, and overeating, I’m proud to say that not only did I get the recipe perfect, I took it one step further: to breakfast. I love cornbread with fried eggs – dipped in runny yolk, it is heaven. Since I already sweeten it with cornbread, I thought, why not put bacon in it as well. Friends, I’m not gonna lie – it’s a home run. The salty chew of the bacon mixed with the buttery sweet of the cornbread is nothing short of miraculous… but I really had to make sure. When I want to seriously test a recipe, I give it to my roommate. More than once I have made a dish that my roommate normally doesn’t like eating, but when she tastes my version, she freaks out about it. I call it the roommate test. Clever, I know. This cornbread passed the test with flying colors – she is a believer, and I promise you will be too.

As a heads up, you should know that the only way to make cornbread is in a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, I can’t recommend getting one more highly. I get such use out of mine – it fries and browns like nothing else. Honestly, even if you only use it to make cornbread, it’s still worth it – nothing else will give you that light crisp on the exterior. The recipe may seem a little involved, but once you get into it, you’ll see it’s really a cinch to put together. Decadent? Yes. Starving artist? Absolutely.

Maple Bacon Cornbread (Recipe PDF)