Cornbread Pull-Apart Bread

cornbread pull-apart bread
I'm not sure how it happened, but this week somehow became crazy-town week for me. It's not because of Thanksgiving. I'm not hosting Thanksgiving. I'm probably not even going to be cooking anything at all for it. Hosting is my thing, and if I was, I'd probably just be super excited.

rolling out bread dough
Instead, this Friday, Eugene and I are leaving for the airport at some ridiculous still-dark hour to head down to Puerto Rico for my grandmother's 98th birthday. I'm excited about this, but the limited amount of time before we leave totally stresses me out.

(Nothing stresses me out like the handful of days before I travel!)

homemade pullapart breadMy friend (and fellow chef lady!) Melissa is going to be staying here house and Hudson-sitting, which means that instead of the crazy disaster I usually leave behind when I travel, I need to leave things clean and semi-organized so Melissa doesn't regret agreeing to this plan.

For the actual meal, we're going to Eugene's parents' apartment in Brooklyn, so I don't have to cook, but it means that everything needs to be done before we head over to their place (an hour away).

yeasted cornbread
And between now and then, I have a long list of things to get done. Articles to write.  Photos to edit. Clothing to fold. Toiletries to buy. Luggage to pack. Nails to paint. Hair to wash and blow-out.

Even a holiday e-book deadline (more about that, soon!).

So in the middle of all this crazy, I got an idea. The idea was for a pull-apart bread made out of yeasted cornbread. Something like a cross between brioche and cornbread.

pull-apart cornbread
A little bit sweet, but neutral enough to work as both a savory dinner roll, and sweet breakfast bread.

It popped in my head while I was working on something, and grew and grew to the point where I just couldn't ignore it, despite my major to-do list.

baked pull-apart cornbread
I jumped up and within seconds I was writing up recipes and proofing yeast and kneading dough. Testing. Trying.

And here's the thing. The results? So awesome.

homemade pull-apart cornbread
The bread itself came out amazing. It's probably a little late to include on your Thanksgiving table, but would still be super lovely any other day of the year.

And I'm ridiculously proud that I made it happen.

Because sometimes you just have to let the big ideas happen. Even if the timing isn't right.

pull-apart cornbread
I hope to post again tomorrow, but if I don't, I want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope you know how grateful I am for all of you who read and comment and share and make it possible for me to make a living doing what I love.

Love Always Order Dessert?
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Cornbread Pull-Apart Bread Recipe
Makes 1 loaf

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar (you can do up to 1/3 for a sweeter bread)
3/4 cup warm whole milk
1/4 cup warm water
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, melted and divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
A few tablespoons raw sugar, for sprinkling

Whisk together yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, milk, and water in the base of a stand mixer with dough hook attached. Let sit 5 minutes until foamy on top.

Beat in remaining sugar, eggs, 1/4 cup melted butter, and vanilla. Then mix in cornmeal, 2 cups flour, and salt. Beat with dough hook, adding slightly more AP flour if the dough is too wet. It should pull away completely from the sides and form a ball. Knead at high speed for 3 minutes.

Pour oil into a large bowl. Form dough into ball, place in bowl, and flip around once to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for one hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 9”x5” loaf pan.

Punch down dough. Sprinkle counter with flour, then roll out dough to 1/2” thickness. Brush top with remaining melted butter. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut dough into 2” by 4” rectangles (don’t worry if they’re not all even).

Stack the dough rectangles, then arrange on their sides in the prepared loaf pan. Squoosh in any extra pieces that don’t fit!

Sprinkle with a bit of raw sugar, then bake for 40-45 minutes or until puffed up and golden. Keep an eye on it—if it starts to darken too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Let cool in pan for 20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Festive Finds with Nespresso and Sur la Table

Holiday gift ideas

Earlier this month, I surprised my mom with a mini birthday/early-holiday shopping spree in the city. I was able to do this thanks to Nespresso® and Sur la Table, who provided me with gift cards and everything I needed to create a special day for her.

I had my mom meet me at my apartment, keeping the plan a secret until we arrived at our first destination--the Nespresso Boutique & Cafe on Madison Avenue. She was amazed with the shop from the moment we walked in (her actual words: "This is like coffee...elevated.").

Alejandra Ramos
We started off with a light lunch, and then finished off with a couple cozy mugs of coffee from the amazing variety on their menu.

(I chose the coffee of the month, which was an amazing cinnamon honey latte that I plan to recreate on here soon). I then had a car service take us back across Central Park over to the Sur la Table store located in the Hearst Tower on 57th Street.

We spent a couple hours in the shop first browsing, and then finally making our choices for the items we wanted. With the holidays coming up, we both stocked up on a few entertaining basics, but then also picked a out a few fun gift items for ourselves (admittedly one of my favorite parts of holiday shopping!).

We then bundled back into the car with our packages, and headed back to my apartment for dinner and to go over our goodies. Just before she left for the evening, I gave my mom one final surprise--her very own Nespresso® VertuoLine® machine!

Here are my favorite Festive Finds from our shopping trip:

holiday gift guide
1. Gold-Rim Coupe Glasses
I've been searching for a set of vintage style gold-rimmed coupes for ages! The minute I saw them, I practically yelped before grabbing the box. So gorgeous for holiday entertaining--even the simplest cocktail looks super festive served in one of these. 

2. Gold Wire Napkin Rings
A little sparkle is the quickest way to glamor to your table setting. No need to buy all new napkins--just switch out your napkin rings and you have a whole new look!

3. Rocco Brushed Gold Flatware Set of 5
Are you sensing a theme here? I've been obsessed with gold flatware for a while now, and this set is particularly lovely. Adds warmth and elegance to the dinner table.

4. Urban Accents Mulling Spices
Add these to a bottle of wine or a jug of store-bought cider, and simmer. Your house will smell incredible, and it's also a wonderful thing to serve guests who are coming in (or heading out into) the cold.

5. Linen Kitchen Apron
I thought I'd had my fill of new aprons until I saw (and felt!) these. The linen is so soft, but still sturdy enough to protect your clothing. Perfect for both hosting and everyday wear. (They also make tablecloths, napkins, and runners in this same fabric!)

6. Nespresso® VertuoLine®
This gorgeous machine makes both classic espresso AND full cups of American-style coffee. The quality and flavors are incredible. I have the red one, and I gave my mom the chrome. All are sleek and gorgeous.

7. Organic Serve Bowls
I fell in love with these the minute I saw them. Hand-made in Portugal, they have a natural imperfect shape that adds casualness to the table. Perfect for salads, roasted vegetables, or other sides. I got them in gray, but the white is also lovely.

8. Winterberry Wreath
Sur la Table sells a variety of beautiful natural wreaths, but this fresh juniper one covered in a mix of real dried and faux red berries is my favorite (red + gold is my thing this year!).

9. Nespresso® Aeroccino 3 Black Milk Frother
If you follow me on Instagram, you might see that I'm a little bit obsessed with super frothy cream on my coffee. (Seriously. OBSESSED.) I have this whole ritual every morning of steaming and frothing the cream. It's the perfect way to start the day. This handy little gadget both heats up and froths your milk or cream (non-dairy milks, too!) so you don't need to fuss with the stove or microwave. Kind of amazing.

10. Gold Flake Truffles 
I've long loved Charbonnel et Walker truffles--they always come in such gorgeous little packages and are delicious. These are flaked with real edible gold. A unique and memorable gift for your favorite party host or tuck it into your favorite chocolate lover's Christmas stocking!

11. Peppermint Mug
A set of these festive red and white striped candy cane mugs would be perfect for your morning mug of coffee or a late night hot chocolate (add a shot of espresso to make a mocha!).

**I was compensated for this post by Nespresso and Sur la Table, who provided me with car service and gift cards to use at their stores. All opinions and recommendations are my own.


23 Best Last-Minute Thanksgiving Side Dishes


15 Easy Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas

Sure...we all know about pumpkin and pecan pie, but what if you want to do something a little different this year?

Here are 15 of my favorite ideas for easy Thanksgiving desserts that are a little bit more creative than the usual.

From super simple brownies with fresh cranberries, to a slightly more elegant layer cake, I'm sure you'll find something perfect for your celebration!

Scroll down and get inspired!

1. Walnut Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
This simple, nutty walnut layer cake is rich with great Fall flavors and will be a hit on your holiday table. You are going to love the orange frosting!

2. Roasted Maple Syrup Caramel Pears
Buttery, caramelized pear wedges are amazing on their own or served over ice cream or yogurt. Such a quick and easy recipe that can be made in advance. (Leftovers are incredible for breakfast, too!)

3. Cranberry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
The mix of tart berries, sugary caramel, and sweet cornmeal cake is perfect for Thanksgiving. It's just as pretty to look at, too!

4. Super Chewy Ginger Cookies
You will want to double the batch of these chewy ginger cookies--they have a tendency to disappear!

5. Vegan Carrot Cake Cookies
Keep all your guests happy by serving a platter of these delicious vegan cookies--they're like tiny little bite-sized cakes!

6. Baked Gingerbread Donuts with Cream Cheese Frosting
Who needs cake when you can have doughnuts!

7. Anise Biscotti
After a big meal, it's nice to serve up something to nibble on with coffee and conversation. These crunchy anise biscotti are just the thing! Perfect for dipping in coffee or sweet wine.

8. Saffron Walnut Bundt Cake
This easy cake is simple to make, but the flavors are absolutely incredible. Perfect for a special occasion!

9. Cranberry Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake
Cranberries and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Give this easy loaf cake a try!

10. Fresh Cranberry Brownies
Add fresh cranberries to a simple brownie batter for a unique dessert that will please a crowd.

11. Gluten-Free Flourless Cashew Oatmeal Cake
This delicate, buttery cake is just the thing to serve if you have gluten-free friends or family joining you this year.

12. Baked Apple Cider Donuts
An easy baked homemade version of the farmer's market favorite.

13. Almond Raspberry Shortbread Cake
Swap in cranberry sauce for the raspberry jam in this shortbread cookie cake, and you'll have a stunning Thanksgiving dessert that will impress.

14. Bourbon Pumpkin Mousse
Made with whipped cream instead of egg whites, this "cheater" mousse is super easy to make and serve.

15. Chardonnay Cake
White wine baked into this easy cake make it an elegant and festive holiday dessert.

Want more holiday recipes? Check out my eCookbook: The Puerto Rican Christmas Table with 40+ recipes and full-color photos. Amazing recipes for the whole holiday season!  

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