Cornbread Sticks Are A Traditional Southern Staple You Need To Try

cornbread sticks with jalapeno
cornbread sticks with jalapeno - WilliamEdwards14/Shutterstock

Sure, we often give credit to apple pie as the most American dish, but honestly, there's nothing more quintessentially American than corn and corn-based foods. Not only is corn ubiquitous in America, but cornbread actually originates from a Native American dish called pone (Algonquin for "baked"). And while cornbread is enjoyed everywhere (New England's spider cake is a great example), there's no region as heavily associated with cornbread as the American South, and there are more preparations involving cornbread and cornmeal than the classic kind.

A good example of this is cornbread sticks, which are ... well, exactly what they sound like. But this classic staple isn't just long cornbread; if you have the right kind of pan, it's actually made to look like corn cobs themselves, making for a surprisingly fun dish that doesn't sacrifice taste. Much like regular cornbread, you can eat them at any time of day, alongside basically any meal; their versatility is their strength.

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Cast Iron Is Your Best Bet For Preparing Cornbread Sticks

stacked cast iron pans
stacked cast iron pans - Hyper Story/Shutterstock

Cornbread generally involves a bunch of ingredients, and while recipes do vary, cornbread sticks are no exception. Luckily, pretty much every one of them is a classic kitchen staple. You're going to need cornmeal, of course (yellow or white, it's up to you), and some kind of fat -- shortening, vegetable oil, butter, or even bacon grease -- both to grease the pan and to keep the cornbread moist. You'll also need sugar, salt, flour, eggs, buttermilk, baking powder, and baking soda.

Like other types of cornbread (not to mention a lot of Southern dishes), the best vessel for cornbread sticks is classic cast iron. Cast iron lends itself to a lot of foods, and in the case of cornbread, it's great because it gets hot easily and holds that temperature well, ensuring an even cook. Add to this the fact that properly seasoned cast iron is naturally non-stick and you've got a winning combo. They also make cast iron cornbread stick pans, so you don't have to use your regular skillet. These molds are designed to make the cornbread sticks look like corn cobs, which is a fun little extra to the end product.

You Can Flavor Cornbread Sticks With Pretty Much Anything

cornbread sticks in basket
cornbread sticks in basket - DiAnna Paulk/Shutterstock

The nice thing about cornbread sticks is the same as cornbread: You can flavor it however you'd like. Jalapeño is a classic flavoring, but you could also go with brown sugar and pecan, bacon and scallion, green chiles, basil, apple, and honey -- the possibilities are nearly endless. One of the great things about cornbread is how it can take seemingly any flavor, from sweet to savory, and cornbread sticks are no exception.

Maybe the best thing about cornbread sticks is how they're made for dipping. Whether you want to go savory with chili or go the sweet route with some type of hot honey or maple butter, cornbread sticks dip much more easily than traditional cornbread due simply to their geometry.

Next time you're in the mood to make some cornbread to pair with your stew or bean dish, consider cornbread sticks instead. They're a more fun version of the classic cornbread, and who doesn't love that?

Read the original article on Daily Meal.