Creepy Southern Cornbread Skulls are the perfect complement to your Halloween festivities. Crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, these cornbread skulls are sure to WOW young and old.
Southern Versus Northern Cornbread
Both southern and northern cornbread are made with cornmeal. Other than that, the two types of cornbread tend to be different concerning whether or not flour and sugar are added to the batter.
Southern cornbread is typically made with a smaller amount of flour compared to cornmeal. Northern cornbread generally is made with equal parts of cornmeal and flour. This gives northern cornbread more of a cake-like texture.
In addition, southern cornbread generally contains little or no sugar. This allows the corn taste to shine through. On the other hand, Northern cornbread tends to include a fair amount of sugar, resulting in a much sweeter cornbread.
The preference between southern and northern cornbread often boils down to personal taste.
In the south, there are numerous variations of basic cornbread. Hushpuppies are made with a cornbread batter but are fried rather than baked. Hoecakes are fried cornbread pancakes. Cornpone is often cooked in a cast iron skillet and contains little or no milk, eggs, or sugar.
These variations aside, southern cornbread sometimes has jalapeños or creamed corn added. Whatever the variation, southern cornbread is both delicious and versatile.
Ingredients: Here’s What You’ll Need
- Wet Ingredients: For the wet ingredients, I used buttermilk, melted unsalted butter, and eggs.
- Dry Ingredients: The dry ingredients included yellow cornmeal, all-purpose flour, Kosher salt, baking soda, and cayenne pepper.
I used a special pan to make the skull-shaped cornbread. While there are many options, I selected the Nordic Ware Skull Cakelet Halloween Bakeware Haunted Pan.
I initially got the pan to make Skull Pizza. However, after some experimentation with Susan, the Skull Pizza was so successful that I decided to branch out and make these delicious Creepy Southern Cornbread Skulls.
Steps in Making the Skull Cornbread
Making the skull cornbread was relatively easy.
- I started by whisking together the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs. Before whisking the wet ingredients, I let the buttermilk come to room temperature and the melted butter to cool somewhat. However, the melted butter still clumped a bit when whisked with the other wet ingredients.
- Next, I whisked together the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.
- After that, I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. I stirred just until everything was combined. I didn’t want to over-mix the batter.
- I sprayed the wells of the skull pan with nonstick spray. Then, I added about ⅓ of a cup of cornbread batter to each of the wells.
I happened to have a very large ice cream scoop that Susan had given me that was perfect for the job. As a guide, the cornbread batter came just to the top of the indentations around the skull mouth.
- I baked the skull cornbread in a preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes. I experimented with higher heat. In fact, at 450°, the skulls looked almost burnt.
As it turned out 400° F was the perfect temperature, at least for my oven. I removed the cornbread skulls from the oven and let them sit in the pan for about five minutes.
- After five minutes, I turned the pan upside down and the cornbread skulls came flying out, i.e., nothing stuck!
I broke one of the cornbread skulls in half. The outside was crispy and the center was moist and of a perfect texture for Southern cornbread.
I ended up with 12 Creepy Southern Cornbread Skulls. I served them with a bowl of chili for a spooktacular Halloween meal. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s best to use buttermilk in this recipe because of its interaction with the baking soda. However, if you don’t have buttermilk, you can easily make it by adding 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to a measuring cup and adding enough milk to reach 1 ¾ cups.
Stone-ground cornmeal can be used in this recipe. However, I use regular yellow cornmeal that is readily available at a grocery store in this recipe.
You can omit the cayenne pepper in this recipe. You can also increase the amount if you’d prefer a spicier cornbread.
It’s easy to reheat the skull cornbread. I usually reheat it in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.
The skull cornbread should keep for several days in an airtight container. You can also freeze it in an airtight container if you want to keep the skull cornbread longer.
Other Spooktacular Halloween Savory Treats
If you’re planning a Halloween get together, you should try these other spooktacular Halloween recipes.
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Creepy Southern Cornbread Skulls
- Haunted Skull Cakelet Pan
- ½ cup (4-ounces, 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 ½ cups (20-ounces) buttermilk (See Tip 1)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups (11-ounces) yellow cornmeal (See Tip 2)
- 1 cup (5-ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (See Tip 3)
- Nonstick baking spray
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray the interior of the skull pan with nonstick spray. Set aside. (See Tip 4)
- Whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs. (See Tip 5)
- Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture. Stir just until combined. Do not overmix.
- Add about ⅓ cup of the cornbread batter to each of the skull wells. (See Tip 6)
- Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown and the skulls begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. (See Tip 7)
- Remove from oven. Allow to cool in pan for five minutes before removing from the pan.
- Yield: 12 Creepy Southern Cornbread Skulls (See Tip 8)
Chula’s Expert Tips
- If you don’t have buttermilk, you can easily make your own. Add two tablespoons of white vinegar to a measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal 1 ¾ cups. Allow to sit for five minutes.
- I used regular yellow cornmeal that is readily available in the grocery store. There is no need to use the more expensive stone-ground cornmeal in this recipe although stone-ground cornmeal would also work.
- I like to add a small amount of cayenne pepper to the batter for taste. However, you can omit the cayenne pepper or even increase the quantity for more of a taste.
- Be careful not to spray too much of the nonstick spray in the skull pan. The first time I made the cornbread skulls, I did spray too much nonstick spray. The cornbread skulls came out with very much of a blotched look.
- It’s likely that when the melted butter is added to the buttermilk, small pieces will solidify. Don’t worry about that. The butter will melt again when the cornbread skulls are baked.
- I used an extra large ice cream scoop (about ⅓ cup) to add the batter to the pan. You can also spoon in the batter slightly above the indentations of the mouth. You don’t want to overfill the pan.
- If you’re not sure that the cornbread skulls are fully cooked, dip a toothpick in the middle. If the toothpick comes out clean, the skulls are ready.
- The Creepy Southern Cornbread Skulls can be easily reheated in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes. They should keep for several days in an airtight container. They can also be frozen in an airtight container.