By Kelly Kwok

When I was growing up, there were regular family gatherings at our house. We had a large extended family that lived close by, so they would come over every other weekend for dinner.

On one particular occasion, my new aunt brought over a tray of the most delicious cornbread I had ever tasted. She said it was her mom’s famous family recipe. It received rave reviews from all of us and from then on, she always brought extra servings of this cornbread to every gathering.

When I was old enough to learn how to bake on my own, I immediately asked my aunt for the recipe. She happily wrote it down for me and explained that the buttermilk was what gave the cornbread its soft and tender crumb. Now that I make cornbread for my own family, I always like to sneak in a little bit of puréed vegetables. It adds a healthy dose of sweetness along with moisture.

Making it in the slow cooker frees up the oven so that you can bake a pie or roast some vegetables at the same time. This cornbread goes well with a bowl of chili or a roasted chicken dinner.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Cornbread, Courtesy of Kelly Kwok,, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Slow cookers are wonderful for multi-course meals because you can prep one dish, like this cornbread recipe, and move on to making more complex dishes while it’s cooking.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
Yield: 6-8 servings

1 1/4 cups (300 mL) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (175 mL) cornmeal
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt
1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp (45 mL) of honey (or 3/4 cup/175 mL granulated sugar, for an even sweeter cornbread)
1 large egg
2/3 cup (150 mL) cooked butternut squash purée
3/4 cup buttermilk

1. Line slow cooker with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In large bowl, whisk melted butter with honey. Whisk in egg. Whisk in butternut squash, then milk.
4. Slowly add flour mixture to squash mixture and stir until just combined, being careful not to overmix – it is okay to see a small amount of flour.
5. Pour batter into foil-lined slow cooker and spreading evenly with offset spatula. Cover with lid.
6. Cook on low for 2½ to 3½ hours or on high for 1 to 1½ hours, or until edges are golden brown and toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. (Cooking time may vary.)
7. Using foil as handles, lift cornbread from slow cooker and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve with chili, honey or your favourite buttery spread.

Tip: If you want your bread sweeter, feel free to add more honey, or an additional 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Alternatively, if you like a less sweet cornbread, reduce or omit the honey.

Tip: Cornbread is best enjoyed the same day, but it will remain soft for two days. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container overnight.

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