Almost a Meal in Itself: Moist, Dense Sweet Potato Cornbread with Buttermilk

This recipe really should have been posted for Thanksgiving, but sweet potatoes are not in short supply this season, with my CSA delivering almost 20 pounds each month. So any day is a good day for this rich, moist and comforting cornbread. The sweetness from the potatoes is so subtle, not cloying at all, with a warm undertone from the pumpkin pie spice (I made my own). The buttermilk is the kicker–it adds creamy moisture and a slight tang to accent the sweet flavor of the bread, but with less calories than milk. Serve this with your holiday dinners, with a big bowl of chili or gumbo, or as a hearty late afternoon snack on a cold day with a glass of hot mulled (hard!) cider or a pint of hearty ale or stout.

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Sweet Potato Corn Bread

Ingredients
2 cups mashed or grated cooked sweet potatoes
4 whole eggs
1½ cup buttermilk
½ cup honey or maple syrup
2 cups polenta meal
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see recipe below or buy in spice section of supermarket)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 scallions, chopped (optional)

 Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and butter a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, buttermilk and honey or maple syrup.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Add melted butter (and scallions if you are using them) to the sweet potato mixture. Fold the cornmeal mixture into the sweet potato mixture and stir.
  5. Pour into prepare skillet and bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Pumpkin Pie Spice 

Ingredients
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon ground clove (optional)

Instructions 
Mix spices together in a small bowl. Store in a small jar or other airtight container

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