Rustic Olive Oil Crackers

Frustrated by the price and frequency at which we were buying crackers, I resolved to learn how to make the dang things myself. Homemade crackers may sound intimidating, but they are actually quite simple, especially rustic crackers like these Olive Oil Crackers. This cracker recipe is wonderfully simple and adaptive to any favor you would like to explore. Some toppings I’ve tried are: toasted sesame seeds, fresh rosemary, coarse salt or herbes de Provence. Inspired by the Ines Rosales Tortas de Aceite, I am excited to try a sweet version with anis and coarse sugar very soon.

The trick to these crackers is a pasta maker, a gentle hand and some patience. It’s important to get them thin and fairly even so that they crisp throughout. Have your sheet pans ready and lined with parchment before you start rolling the dough as you’ll want to set them down as soon as you’re done rolling.

These crackers make large rustic shapes that will look beautiful next to a cheese platter on your next dinner party. This recipe was developed by Heidi Swanson and published in her blog 101 Cookbooks here.

Rustic Olive Oil Crackers
1 1/2 cups semolina flour or whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
Cornmeal for dusting
Topping of choice (optional)

1. Add flours and salt to your standing mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. At low speed, add the water and olive oil in a slow steady stream. Mix the dough at medium speed for about 5 – 7 minutes. Alternately, feel free to mix and then knead by hand on a floured counter-top. The dough should be just a bit tacky – not too dry, not too sticky to work with. If you need to add a bit more water (or flour) do so.

2. When you are done mixing, shape the dough into a large ball. Now cut into twelve equal-sized pieces. Gently rub each piece with a bit of olive oil, shape into a small ball and place on a plate. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes or up to a day.

3. While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 450F degrees. Insert a pizza stone, if you have one, otherwise, line two sheet pans with parchment and set aside.

4. When the dough is done resting, flatten one dough ball. Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, shape into a flat strip of dough – I can usually get down to the 4 setting on my pasta machine w/o trouble. Pull the dough out a bit thinner by hand (the way you might pull pizza dough). You can also cut the dough into whatever shape you like at this point. Set dough on a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet.

5. If you will be topping the crackers, lightly wash water over the cracker with a pastry brush. Sprinkle your topping of choice and slide into the oven (onto the pizza stone). Repeat the process for the remaining dough balls, baking in small batches. If you don’t have a pizza stone, bake crackers a few at a time on baking sheets. Bake until deeply golden. Slide the crackers from the cookie sheet onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Makes a dozen extra large crackers.

Farinata – an Italian Treat

That Lynne Rosetto Kasper laughed a delightful gut laugh when asked about this dish on her radio show, The Splendid Table, gave away this as a must-try dish. Farinata (also known as socca) is a chickpea and olive oil pancake cooked over an open flame, traditional to Italy and the Meditteranean coast.
For dinner last night, I resolved to try my hand at farinata and discovered that it is as wonderful as Lynne described and very easy to make. Just whisk a simple batter of chickpea flour, water and olive oil until it resembles thin custard and then bake in a very hot, heavy cast iron pan until wonderfully crispy and golden brown. Last night I served the farinata alongside sautéed kale with garlic, onions and sundried tomatoes. Can’t wait to make it again!
Farinata is a perfect gluten free alternative to pizza and is also an ideal canvas for herbal and savory tones like fresh rosemary or sage, caramelized onions or kalamata olives.
Farinata
1 cup chickpea
1 1/2 cup warm water
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the pan
1 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 550° F and place a 10″ cast iron skillet to get very hot. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix chickpea flour, salt, and pepper. Whisk in warm water and olive oil to the consistency of a thin custard.
2. Remove the hot skillet from the oven and coat in approx. 1 Tbsp olive oil. Pour 1/3 of the batter while swirling the pan to spread the batter evenly.
3. Return to the oven and bake for about 12 minutes until firm, golden brown with crisp edges. Use the broiler to brown the top, if needed. Remove the pan from the oven and serve right away.
Makes 3 farinata.

Glazed Lemon Muffins

Glazed Lemon Muffin Recipe
Plate by Roger Baumann. Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Tangy and sweet, these lemon muffins are a summertime breakfast favorite. Our family’s love affair with lemon muffins began at the Daily Coffee Bar in Bozeman, Montana. During our years in college, we went there often and almost always ordered the same thing: lemon muffins and a mocha. We loved their lemon muffins so much that I began making them once we moved to New York City when we felt particularly homesick.
This lemon muffin recipe makes a light, lemony and not particularly sweet muffin. The glaze completes the muffin with sweetness and the tart and fresh elements of real lemon juice. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.
For light and airy lemon muffins, the trick is to work quickly when mixing the flour into the liquids, mix the ingredients by hand with a wooden spoon and do not over mix. Make sure that the flour is completely incorporated into the liquids, but stop mixing as soon as there are no longer flour lumps in the batter.
Favorite Glazed Lemon Muffins
Plate by Roger Baumann. Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Glazed Lemon Muffins
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1/2 buttermilk
1/3 cup oil
Lemon Glaze
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 12-cup muffin pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, lemon juice, lemon extract, sugar and eggs until just combined (do not over beat). Using a wooden spoon, fold in the flour mixture in a few swift strokes to form a smooth batter.
3. Divide the batter into the 12 muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are lightly golden around the edges and a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
4. While the muffins are baking, prepare the lemon glaze by stirring the sugar into the lemon juice until all the sugar crystals are completely dissolved.
4. Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove them from the muffin pan and brush them generously with the lemon glaze. Allow them to sit at room temperature to cool completely and soak the lemon glaze.
Makes 12 muffins.

Mini Chocolate Chip Scones

Mini Chocolate Chip Scone Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
From June to September each year the Bozeman, MT community would gather to support local farmers, craftspeople and bakers like me at the Farmer’s Market in Bogert Park. Vincent Van Scone was our small operation that consisted of baked breakfast goods, especially scones, and a weekly auction of Scott’s chalkboard reproduction of a Van Gogh painting. We were twenty six then and already dreaming about how to carve out a little place in the world.
During the summers, our home would smell like coffee cake and chalk on Friday nights as Scott would prepare the chalkboard Van Gogh, spreading the big box of chalk all over the floor. The living room and dining room would slowly fill up with coffee cakes as I baked them in batches through the night. In early Saturday mornings, it was the aroma of strong Puerto Rican coffee brewing in large quantities and the gentle buttery smell of scones baked with blueberries, raspberries, peaches or plums that would wake Angelica up.
Scott and I would load up our rickety old wooden picnic table (no, not the ones that fold) onto the roof of our copper Salvation Army Store-bought 1972 Jeep Wagoneer. The crates of still-warm scones, coffee cakes, coffee and other supplies would go in the back. Little Angelica would jump in next to us and Scott would drive us a block to the Bozeman Farmer’s Market to set up. After hauling the heavy wooden table to my spot, Scott and Angelica would disappear – Scott to return the car home and Angelica to get her best friend Chloe to play in Bogert Park. Scott often came back with a bunch of fresh wildflowers or sweat pea blossoms for the table, just in time for the Farmer’s Market “opening bell”. Friends and customers would stop by for their morning fix of baked goods and fresh brewed Puerto Rican coffee and we would catch up on the week’s events.
Our weekends these days are very different, but each time I make scones, my heart swells for those great Vincent Van Scone weekends and those sweet pea blossoms on my rickety red picnic table.
If you are new to making scones, you might be interested in these tips.
You might also be interested in my other scone recipes: Raspberry Almond Scones, Spiced Pumpkin Scones.
Mini Chocolate Chip Scones
2 cups flour
2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the mini chocolate chips. Stir in the whipping cream, egg and vanilla extract with a few swift strokes until a crumbly dough forms. Don’t worry if there are still some dry spots.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather the dough into a ball. Gently press the dough into a ¾ inch thick disk.
3. Brush the disk with heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut the disk into 8 even wedges.
4. Arrange the wedges 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream.
Makes 8 scones.

Best Homemade Bagels

Emeril Lagasse Bagel Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
This winter we traveled to Colorado and Wyoming to visit our family. During our visit we were treated to a truly special breakfast with a New York twist: homemade bagels. Our nephew and young chef, Keith, woke up early in the morning and, with his dad’s help, prepared us the best homemade bagels we had ever had. We enjoyed an assortment of warm bagels right out of the oven, including asiago cheese, everything, garlic, salt, sesame, poppy seed and chocolate chip. Sharing this breakfast with our talented nephew was one of the highlights of a restful and healing vacation.
Keith uses Emeril Lagasse’s Homemade Bagel recipe. The bagels are soft and chewy on the inside and crusty on the outside. Our nine year old nephew impressed us with these fantastic homemade bagels and inspired me to try to make these at home.
According to Keith, they are time consuming, but easy to make.
Emeril’s Homemade Bagels
2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
Optional Toppings:
1/2 cup lightly toasted chopped onions (2 teaspoons each)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
1 tablespoon kosher salt (about 1/4 teaspoon each)
1. Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, and mix until the mixture comes together.
2. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups additional flour 1/2 cup at a time to make a stiff dough, either stirring with the wooden spoon or working with your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed. (Dough should be heavier and stiffer than regular yeast bread dough.)
3. Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
4. Remove from the bowl and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 ounces each, measuring about 4 inches across. Form each piece of dough into a ball. Roll each ball into a 4 to 6-inch log. Join the ends and place fingers through the hole and roll the ends together. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on a lightly greased surface, cover with a clean cloth, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot, 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with the remaining teaspoon of oil.
6. In a large, heavy pot, bring 12 cups of water and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil. In batches, add the bagels to the water and boil, turning, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip bagels onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over and cook for another 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Makes 12 bagels

Spiced Pumpkin Scones

Spiced Pumpkin Scone Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
It’s pumpkin time! My favorite time of the year. Pumpkin is the perfect fall vegetable. Delicious and versatile it lends itself to many applications in anything from breakfast to dessert.
I love to sneak pumpkin into my dishes whenever I can, especially in the fall. Sunday morning I made a batch of pumpkin scones that I wanted to share with you. They are moist, light, with a touch of spice and sweetness. Serve them with a little butter and dark maple syrup.
When you make these, keep in mind that this particular recipe will yield a very wet dough that will likely stick to your hands. Don’t get frustrated, the results are worth the mess! If you are new to making scones, take a look at these scone baking tips.
Also, if you love pumpkin as much as I do, try these pumpkin muffins.
Spiced Pumpkin Scones
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, egg, vanilla extract, and spices. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture with a few swift strokes until a loose wet dough forms.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather the dough into a ball. Gently press the dough into a ¾ inch thick disk.
3. Sprinkle the disk with turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Using a knife, cut the disk into 8 wedges.
4. Arrange the wedges ½ inch apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Makes 8 scones.

Good Bread, Easy to Make

Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Love of bread goes deep in our family. Abuelo Paco, my grandfather, would take daily early morning walks to the Comercio Bakery in Ponce, PR to get a warm loaf of bread, “pan de agua”, fresh out of the oven. He would place the fresh, warm loaf in the pit of his arm and hug the bread as he carried it back home. He believed this preserved the heat. At home, Abuela Sara would serve strong cups of instant Taster’s Choice coffee with milk that had been scalded and strained. Abuelo Paco would sit at the breakfast table and proceed to remove the soft core of the bread, roll it up into mounds and set them aside on his place mat to be discarded later. He only ate the crust, slathered in butter and dipped in hot coffee. Glistening pools of melted butter would swim around the surface of his coffee cup. There was something so right about this daily breakfast tradition.
Like Abuelo Paco, I walk to bakeries all over the city in search of good bread. I love rustic, brick oven breads with deep dark crusts and chewy insides with air pockets like swiss cheese. When I first learned about the Sullivan Street Bakery (back when the White Lily Tea Room served their semi di sesamo) I took several trips to Sullivan Street just to sample their breads. They make some of the best bread I have tried in the city.
When I read about Jim Lahey’s No-Knead method of bread making in this blog and later in an article by Mark Bittman, I was ecstatic and eager to try it out for myself. Jim Lahey teaches his No-Knead method of bread making at the Sullivan Street Bakery and has posted the recipe on his website.
Since early spring I have been experimenting with the recipe. The results are an airy loaf with a well developed flavor and a crusty dark crust, wonderful every time. The trick is using a heavy pot like a cast iron dutch oven or a heavy clay pot with a lid. The heavy pot creates an environment that simulates the steam conditions necessary to make a crusty bread. This recipe is a super easy way to make bread and I encourage everyone to try it. Below you will find Jim Lahey’s original recipe.
Note: The dough will become temperamental if you rise it in a kitchen with a temperature above the range suggested of 65-72°F. You will need to adjust the rising time or move your dough to a cooler room. During these hot summer months I have been rising the dough in a kitchen of over 85° and not adjusting the rising time and the dough becomes soupy and hard to handle. Even when this happens, though, the results are decent.

Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread
3 cups (430g) flour
1 1/2 cups (345g or 12oz) water
1/4 teaspoon (1g) yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon (8g) salt
olive oil (for coating)
extra flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal (for dusting)
Equipment:
Two medium mixing bowls
6 to 8 quart pot with lid (Pyrex glass, Le Creuset cast iron, or ceramic)
Wooden Spoon or spatula (optional)
Plastic wrap
Two or three cotton dish towels (not terrycloth)
1. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add water and incorporate by hand or with a wooden spoon or spatula for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lightly coat the inside of a second medium bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 12 hours at room temperature (approx. 65-72°F).
2. Remove the dough from the bowl and fold once or twice. Let the dough rest 15 minutes in the bowl or on the work surface. next, shape the dough into ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 450-500°F. Place the pot in the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking to preheat. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot seam side up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes Then remove the lid and bake 15-30 minutes uncovered, until the loaf is nicely browned.
Makes 1 round loaf.

Childhood Bran Muffins

Raisin Bran Muffin Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Waking up to the smell of fresh baked bran muffins right out of the oven at my grandparents’ home jelled my love of baked goods as a young child. My grandfather, Pito, would get up at five in the morning to meditate. He would sometimes follow his ritual by making bran muffins from scratch. The smell would wake me up with a smile and I would walk over to the kitchen where a basket of muffins was waiting for me.
The gesture of making bread from simple, healthy ingredients impresses me even today as a wholesome act of love and care amongst family. These are the things that stay with you as you grow older and I thank my grandfather for sharing them with us.
This bran muffin recipe is wonderfully versatile and easy to make. It makes a moist muffin that is not too sweet. What is great about this recipe is that it makes a rather large batch (24 muffins); you can make the batter ahead of time and it will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. So you can wake up, scoop the batter into muffin tins and bake for fresh baked muffins every morning.
The recipe was inspired by the Raisin Walnut Bran Muffins served in Bozeman’s best coffee bar.
Bran Muffins
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup hot water
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
handful of raisins (optional)
handful of toasted walnut (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 24 muffin tins with oil and set aside. Combine the hot water and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Whisk oats, bran, wheat flour, unbleached flour, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl to blend. In a separate large bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, buttermilk and eggs lightly. Add the hot water mixture and the flour mixture and stir to incorporate.
3. Divide muffins into 24 muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in a rack for five minutes. Serve hot with butter or at room temperature.
Makes 24 muffins.

Pizza Dough

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe
Photo by Scott Bartolomei Edmonds. Plate by Jim Shack.
Ten years have passed since I first came across a recipe for herb and onion pizzettes in Food and Wine Magazine. Since then, I have been carrying a cut-out of this recipe in a folder where I keep all my favorite recipes. It’s a bright pink folder with an old rubber band holding all the papers together. Back when I started the folder, my good friend Marcie had sent me a gift in cardboard tube. On it, she scrolled this quote by Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli:
“A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.”
A piece of that tube still survives taped to the folder along with some old stickers of pheasants and squirrels that Angelica added. The folder has grown fatter, torn, and stained as time passes, so, slowly, I am working on transferring these recipes to the web.
I have been faithful to this recipe since it was first published back in 1998. This one is a simple, basic pizza dough recipe yielding a light crust to compliment any topping. Kneading by hand is the way to go, but if you are short on time, simply use the dough hook on your standing mixer at medium speed. I often like to substitute some of the flour with whole wheat flour for a nuttier, heartier crust. Also, you can prepare the dough through step 1, cover and refrigerate overnight for the next day.

Photo by Scott Bartolomei Edmonds.
Pictured here are pizzettes topped with white truffle oil, thinly sliced yukon gold potatoes, onion, rosemary, parsley and a slice of white truffle pecorino. We served these last Saturday as an appetizer for dinner with Tausha, my sister in law, who was visiting us during her trip to New York City.
Pizza Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (105° to 115°)
salt
olive oil
1. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the flour with the yeast and 1/4 cup of the water. Let stand in a warm place until foamy, about 30 minutes. Stir in 2 1/4 cups of the flour, the remaining 3/4 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to form a soft dough. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until silky and elastic, about 5 minutes; add just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
2. Punch down the dough, cover and let rise for 30 minutes longer. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and let the dough rest for 10 minutes before shaping it.
3. Meanwhile, set a pizza stone on a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500°.
4. Roll out or stretch dough into desired shape. Set the dough on a lightly floured pizza peel or baking sheet and top with your favorite toppings. Slide the pizza onto a pizza stone in the oven and bake for about 7 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Makes 1 large pizza pie.

Corn Bread in a Skillet

Skillet Corn Bread Recipe
When I was fourteen years old, my mom flew out to Rochester, NY to visit me. She stayed in a hotel near Marketplace Mall, and I was going to stay with her for the weekend. My dad dropped me off after work that night. I still remember getting out of his 1980-something light blue Honda Civic. It was cold and wet and he was bundled up with his golfer’s cap and scarf. His work shoes had those rubber covers to protect them from the wet. He got out of the car with me. As I approached the door to the lobby, I could see my beautiful mother there in her gorgeous handmade woolen coat. My dad froze right before we got to the door and said goodbye to me. I was a little confused at the time, but I said goodbye right back and stepped through the glass doors and into the lobby. I looked back as the doors closed. My dad was still standing there. I kept walking and jumped into my mother’s arms.
That night, we had dinner at the restaurant in the hotel and we ordered some cornbread. It was fantastic. My mom and I were so enthusiastic about it that she bought a ‘cornbread’ skillet along with some cornbread mix. Since then, cornbread always reminds me of that awkward reunion and the tender but short moments spent with my mom that winter back in 1986.
The recipe I give you today is one I have enjoyed over many years. I scratched it into brown paper about twelve years ago. Every once in a while I adjust the recipe by adding things like blueberries or cut down on the sugar and add chipotle for a kick. Mostly, I like it just the way it is, served with a little butter and honey. This recipe makes a light and moist cornbread that is on the sweet side.
Corn Bread
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 cup brown sugar (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter over low heat in a 9″ cast iron skillet, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, stir the brown sugar into the buttermilk until any lumps of sugar dissolve. Add the egg and vanilla and lightly stir. Then, stir in the cooled melted butter.
2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and lightly mix until any lumps of flour disappear. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into the buttered skillet and bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
Makes 1 loaf.