What to do when on a super busy day when a friend texts saying, “I need to talk with you! Can I come over for tea and talk?” She sounds sad. Of course, if you’re like me, you put the suitcase aside (I was packing for my trip to Arizona for the Arizona Vegetarian Food Fest) and say, “of course.” Now, talk is better with something warm from the oven. What could I bake that’s easy, fuss free, and ready fast using simple pantry staples for an 11:30 tea and sympathy session. Vegan Cornbread, that’s what. (If you have more time, you can make corn muffins or corn sticks using this recipe. I didn’t have time for the extra steps.)
Here is exactly what I did, from start to finish 25 minutes:
- Gather ingredients.
- Make batter.
15 minutes: bake
- Position oven rack to middle.
- Preheat to 425°F.
- Grab 2 bowls, a whisk, a spatula, and a 9×9-inch pan. All these things are on the same shelf on a cart in my small kitchen.
Out of the freezer, I pulled bag of cornmeal and flours, and from the refrigerator I took the maple syrup, nondairy milk, and orange blossom honey. From pantry and staples turntable, the baking powder and salt. In just a few minutes I:
- Sift dry into medium bowl.
- Mix liquid ingredients in smaller bowl.
- Oil pan. Check oven—it is at the correct temperature.
- Mix liquid ingredients into dry. Spoon into pan, and put pan into the oven.
While the cornbread bakes, I put a bag of frozen organic raspberries from the freezer into a saucepan, to defrost over low heat. I taste and add 2 tablespoons coconut sugar.
- 1 cup fine or medium-fine grind cornmeal
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons any nondairy milk; use 3 tablespoons if cornmeal is coarse
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, Grade A Dark
- 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Oil a 9 x 9-inch baking pan or equivalent. If using a cast iron pan, heat it on the stove before pouring in the batter.
Whisk the dry ingredients in their containers to aerate. Measure using the dip, overfill, level method. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the cornmeal, pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt to the strainer. Whisk to mix and aerate.
Whisk the plant milk, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and whisk only until the batter is smooth. The batter will drop off a spoon like heavy pancake batter. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 14 to 15 minutes, or until set and lightly colored, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Cool the pan on a rack for 5 minutes before cutting.
Serve warm or at room temperature with vegan butter, jam, fruit, vegan honey.
For a sweeter or shinier cornbread, brush top with maple syrup, or drizzle as I did to add flavor with the vegan honey,
P.S. She is feeling better and she enjoyed the warm snack. And, I’m back to packing.