They tested several precooking methods--boiling, roasting, and microwaving and found the latter to be the best in controlling the moisture that sweet potatoes can give off. But, they didn't stop at just testing the sweet potatoes. You will also notice the ratio of cornmeal to flour this recipe has. Most of my recipes call for equal proportions, but ATK found that a 3:1 ratio of cornmeal to flour made a light, yet sturdy bread by changing it. Finally, they added brown sugar, to develop a deeper color and enhance the flavor, instead of granulated sugar and shied away from adding spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. I usually add buttermilk or sour cream to my cornbread, like mom did, but they found that whole milk was preferred by their tasters. There is a science to baking!
My mother liked to start her cast iron skillet in the preheated oven with a tablespoon of butter and this recipe calls to do the same. I declare, it was such a good recipe and with a bowl of (vegetarian) chili, it was perfect for the chilly, overcast day; hubby said it was the best I've ever made!
Sweet Potato Cornbread
1 1/2 lbs. (about 2 large)sweet potatoes, unpeeled
Wash and prick potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave on a large paper plate for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes until the potatoes are soft and surfaces are slightly wet. Immediately slice potatoes in half to release the steam. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop flesh into bowl and mash until smooth. You should have about 1 3/4 cups).
Preheat oven to 425F-degrees. Add 1 T butter to a 10-inch cast iron skillet to heat while mixing up cornbread.
8 T (1 stick/4oz) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
4 large eggs
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz.) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz.) cornmeal
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz.) King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 tsp. salt
Whisk the melted butter, milk and eggs into the mashed sweet potatoes.
Whisk the dry ingredients together, then add to the sweet potato mixture and stir to combine.
Swirl skillet to coat bottom of skillet and pour batter into it. Smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until cornbread is golden brown and toothpick, inserted in center, comes out clean--25 to 30 minutes.
Allow cornbread to cool in skillet, about 30 to 1 hour. Loosen edges and cut into wedges and serve. Enjoy!