Brown Butter Skillet Cornbread
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks)/170 grams unsalted butter
½ cup/120 ml maple syrup
2 ¼ cups/530 ml buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups/180 grams yellow cornmeal, fine or medium-coarse grind
½ cup/65 grams whole wheat flour
½ cup/60 grams all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons/18 grams baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons/9 grams kosher salt
½ teaspoon/5 grams baking soda
Heat oven to 375 degrees. On the stovetop, in a 11- or 12-inch skillet (ovenproof and preferably cast iron), 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, then whisk in buttermilk. The mixture should be cool to the touch; if not, let cool before whisking in the eggs. Then whisk in the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
If the skillet is no longer hot (cast iron retains heat longer than other metals), reheat it briefly on the stove for a few minutes. Scrape batter back into it. Bake 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.
Pairs Well With
This lightly sweet cornbread has a crunchy, buttery crust, which comes from baking it in a hot skillet. If you have a cast-iron pan, this is the time to use it. The heavy, heat-retaining material will give you the darkest color (which equals the most flavor). But any large ovenproof skillet will work. And if you don’t have a skillet big enough to hold all the batter, you can either halve the recipe or bake the cornbread in 9-by-13-inch pan. (Brown the butter first in a saucepan.) Your bread won’t have the same dark crust, but the moist crumb flavored with brown butter and maple syrup is ample recompense.