Cook the Book

Skillet Cornbread with Pecan Dukkah From 'Afro-Vegan'

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[Photograph: Paige Green]

Despite the fact that I have a strong allegiance to plain Southern-style cornbread smeared with a thick layer of butter, I quite like Bryant Terry's nutty, butter-free version in his new cookbook, Afro-Vegan. Chalk it up to the creative use of dukkah, one of my favorite spice blends. The pecan, sesame, cumin, and coriander blend makes the nut milk and creams used to make the batter feel right at home. Instead of tasting like substitutes, the almond, cashew, and flax ingredients echo the flavors of the dukkah, giving this bread a harmony that I rarely find in vegan quick breads.

Why I picked this recipe: Vegan baked goods, even things as forgiving as cornbread, always strike me as mysterious.

What worked: Incorporating dukkah into the bread was a smart move—it adds a fun, unusual element to the bread while at the same time harmonizing with the vegan milk and cream.

What didn't: I was not a huge fan of the orange zest; I thought it competed with the strong flavors of the corn and dukkah. I'd leave it out next time.

Suggested tweaks: If you want to make plain cornbread, you can leave out the dukkah. The bread will still retain a little nuttiness from the almond milk and creamed cashews. Terry is an advocate for unsweetened cornbread, but he says that you can add a tablespoon or two of raw cane sugar to the dry mix if you'd like.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Afro-Vegan to give away this week.

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