Recipe: Homemade Corn Bread

Homemade corn bread: flour, cornmeal, sugar, egg, milk, canola oil, baking powder, salt.
You know who makes the best corn bread? Trader Joe's. I swear! I'm all for making things from scratch, but the dry corn bread mix at TJ's is awesome. It's sweet and has little kernels of sweet corn that rise to the top when it's cooked and get kind of crusty on the edges.

But you know who makes the second best corn bread? I do. Effective yesterday. I finally found a recipe and tinkered with it until it came out very much to my liking.

Simple and sweet, this recipe doesn't use any special-purchase ingredients, like buttermilk, or any two-step ingredients, like melted butter that's then beaten into oblivion with sugar. I love recipes that use only things I already have in my pantry and refrigerator, or that are fast to whip together. This recipe is both. Enjoy!

Sweet and Simple Corn Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar, divided [I subsequently tried scaling back the sugar to 1/2 cup plus 2 to 3 tablespoons for dusting with good results]
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If you have a convection fan, turn that sucker on.

Grease (butter, shortening, lard, cooking spray, or whatever you have) a 9-inch round cake pan and sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar inside. Tilt the pan to thoroughly coat the bottom and sides with sweet, delicious sugar.
Homemade corn bread, which is almost as good as Trader Joe's corn bread from the mix.

Sift or whisk together the flour, cornmeal, 2/3 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder. Dump in all the wet ingredients at once and mix. It can be a little lumpy, but not as lumpy as muffin batter. It's fine if the batter is smooth, but somewhere in between is ideal.

Pour the batter into the prepare cake pan. Tap the pan firmly on the counter to force the batter even. Then sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar on top.

Bake for about 20 minutes on the top rack until the crust cracks (or until a toothpick or butter knife comes out cleanly, if you like that trick). Let cool or you'll burn your freaking fingers and tongue. Serve warm or at room temperature, no butter required. It's sweet! To store wrap it loosely in foil and set in a dry place or in the refrigerator. If you wrap it in plastic wrap or an air-tight container, the corn bread will get mushy.