Saturday, November 20, 2010

Herbed Honey Cornbread with Cranberries

In some ways, fall and winter can be a tough time in the kitchen. Oranges are bad, peaches are non-existent, and anyone trying to sell those horrid cold-weather tomatoes should be stoned with them. Apples are plentiful in fall and winter but, let’s face it, folks, they’re plentiful in spring and summer too.  On the very bright side, fall and winter bring us two of the world’s most perfect foods: mallomars, and cranberries. And since mallomars aren't a very good recipe ingredient, we’re left to ponder, play with, and otherwise thoroughly enjoy the cranberry. I’ve found them to be a wonderful addition to a number of recipes, such as the one I'm happy to share today: Herbed Honey Cornbread with Cranberries.

In working with cranberries, I’m going to beg you to forget those dried, sweetened cranberries in favor of the fresh kind. While the dried ones have some good uses, including as an interesting alternative to raisins, they’re usually sweetened – which takes away the tasty tart quality that's a big part of the reason we use cranberries in the first place – and lose almost all of the nutrition that the fresh ones are famous for. If you like statistics, here's an interesting comparison of fresh vs. dried. To keep it fair, both columns are based on products sold by Ocean Spray. (The nutrition figures for dried are adjusted for the same serving size as the fresh.)

                                   Fresh               Dried
Serving Size                 55 g                 55 g
Calories                       30                    180
Total fat                       0                      0.7 g
Sodium                         0                      1.3 mg
Total carbohydrates     6 g                   49 g
Dietary Fiber                2 g                   4.8 g
Sugar                            2 g                   38 g
Protein                         0 g                   0.1 g
Vitamin C                    20%                 0 %
Iron                              2%                  0 %

Except for the higher level of fiber (which is to be expected since 55 g of dried cranberries has less water than 55 g of fresh), those fresh ones sure do seem to be a lot better for a body. I freeze six bags of the fresh ones at the start of the fall, and replace each bag as I use it up so that I’ll start the cranberry-less spring with six full bags.

Ok, enough with the statistics already. Back to the joys of a fresh, warm, well-made cornbread, one of life’s great pleasures. It’s a perfect accompaniment to turkey or any other poultry, Sunday morning breakfast, and any other time you just feel like enjoying a taste and texture that’s more comforting than anything this easy to make should ever be.  The honey, cranberries and sage combine to give the cornbread a real boost I think you’ll enjoy.

While preheating your oven to 400 degrees, combine your dry ingredients in a large bowl: 1 cup of yellow corn meal; 1 cup AP flour, sifted; 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of dried sage.

In a separate bowl, combine your wet ingredients: 1/2 cup honey (heat the bottle in the microwave for a few seconds and it will pour more easily); ¼ cup canola oil (or other flavor-neutral oil); ¾ cup skim milk; and 2 egg-substitute eggs.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well until a batter forms, then add ½ cup of cranberries dusted with flour or, if you prefer, confectioner’s sugar. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8” x 8” x 2” baking pan and bake until the top is golden and a toothpick or skewer inserted halfway between the middle and the edge comes out clean (about 30 minutes).

Fresh, hot cornbread doesn’t get much easier than that!

If you’d like a cookbook-style version of this recipe, ready for insertion into your recipe notebook, just let me know in a comment or e-mail and I’ll get it right to you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And till next week, stay well, keep it about the food and always remember – especially this Thursday – to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. Mallomars as one of the world's perfect foods.
    Kids all over are cheering you(and some adults too). ~Mary

    ps I was on a craisin kick for a while..mixed with unsalted cashews.

  2. Thanks, Mary. Definitely Mallomars. Oreos too, but we can get those year-round, so it's not quite the same. As for craisins, I think they're ok - even used some tonight along with fresh cranberries in a cranberry sauce - as long as we're not doing it expecting the same nourishment as a fresh cranberry. I like the unsalted cashew idea too.

  3. Maybe this is a silly question but what is a Mallomar? I don't think we Canadians get those. We get cranberries tho! Bread sounds great Ben.


  4. Thanks, Sandra! I've found cranberries just add a special touch to so many things, and they pack so much in the way of vitamins, fiber, etc., that they're completely guilt-free to use. As for Mallomars, they make a man want to forget all about egg substitutes and butter substitutes. It's the world's most addictive cookie - and this from a devoted Oreo eater - topped with marshmallow and covered with a thin coat of good chocolate that has the most wonderful crispy crunch when you bite it. Here's a link to a great article I found that tells the story very well, and mentions, ironically, that despite the fact you can't easily get them where you are they're actually manufactured in Toronto ( It also says they're similar to something called a Whippet that we don't have in the U.S. but that you may have an easier time finding. In any case, I'm glad you liked the cranberry corn bread!