Monday was a wonderful day. We went to visit with my grandmother who I adore to say the least. We last saw her on Saturday, very briefly as we went just to check in and see how my grandfather is doing; he has Alzheimer’s. It has been a very long time since he last knew who we were; we are all strangers to him by now. So Saturday my abuela said she needed to get some medications for abuelo and she also wanted to go to Costco. Now, this is our thing, we hang out cooking and shopping together; grocery shopping that is. Ever since I started driving it has been my pleasure to take her grocery shopping, among other things; but mainly grocery shopping. It has given me a connection to her, I learned to cook with her and I know most of her recipes by heart; I inherited her passion to cook from the heart for the people I love, mi familia.
While we were there I found her old cookbook Cocina Criolla by Julia Abboy de Valdejulí, she was the Julia Child of Puerto Rico back in the day. Her recipes were even used in Home-Economics class. Abuela had marked a bread pudding that she wants to try; I even suggested buying croissants since we were going to Costco. She said she wants to do it the traditional way, with old bread; besides who am I to fight with her. I decided I will do the same recipe using croissants and I will have her try it.
Anyhow, we are here because of cornbread. I have for the past couple of weeks been craving cornbread; but not just any cornbread, but the sweet, almost desert like cornbread. I browsed the book myself and there it was Valdejulí’s cornbread recipe. With all honesty I do not remember if I have ever tried this recipe. I decided to go with it because it is extremely easy. It makes enough for mi familia and most importantly, I had all the ingredients on hand. I used Amapola for the cornmeal because it is our local brand but you can use one that you prefer, same for AP Flour. I used whole milk because I ran out of almond milk. The original recipe calls for butter and I am guessing it should be unsalted, I substituted coconut oil. Now, this is not a part of the ingredients but I added cinnamon, just a little amount because I love the smell and flavor and I believe it complements corn products very well. But you can leave it out.
½ cup cornmeal, I used Amapola all-purpose cornmeal½ cup all-purpose flour, I used Washington
½ cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. Baking Powder
½ cup milk, I used whole milk
2 oz. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
¼ tsp. cinnamon (optional), recipe does not call for cinnamon. I just love it and add it on most of the things I bake.
The process is so simple. I liked that everything is mixed with a fork in a bowl. No big machines required.
1. Combine the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, white sugar, salt and baking powder in one bowl. In this step I also added the cinnamon. I just mixed them with a fork until well mixed.
3. Add the butter. For this recipe I used coconut oil.
4. Add the beaten egg. Mix it until incorporated
5. Pour the corn bread batter in a lightly greased and floured pan. I floured it with cornmeal.
Now, the cornbread baked and sat on the kitchen counter, awaiting Daddy’s return. I was not able to try it because I needed the picture of how it looked when it came out of the oven, and the picture of it sliced. So I waited… to try it.
So, Daddy finally came home and took the picture of the finished bread. I sliced it and it smelled so good. It is delicious, a little dry for my taste so I will probably add a little more coconut oil next time and it is very dense, I like it more airy but in all fairness I might have overbeat it with all the excitement. I will try it again today and update the results.
Since I am going to abuela’s house I will bake it there so she can help and give me pointers as to how to make this better. Afterwards we will sit down to a cup of good Puertorrican coffee and talk about the bread. Life can’t get better than this.
Hoping you enjoy this recipe with someone you love, and may help create connections between generations.
Until next time,