The Secret Ingredient That Makes Dolly Parton's Skillet Cornbread Sing

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Dolly Parton Skillet Cornbread

As many of us do while stepping into the new year, we hope to embrace a year filled with fortune and prosperity. In fact, to increase one’s chances of receiving such blessings, many cultures practice some pretty interesting New Year’s superstitions in an effort of attracting some of that good luck. (Did anyone out there eat 12 grapes at midnight this year?)

In the South, some New Year’s traditions revolve around eating specific foods for good luck—namely collard greens and black-eyed peas. But there's another equally valuable part of the meal that was isn't discussed as much: cornbread.

To bring in the New Year, I did enjoy a comforting meal of collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread myself, and in doing so, it inspired me to continue my investigation into why these were the go-to dishes for gaining good luck. The answer is, the collard greens attract the folding money, the black-eyed peas the coins, and the cornbread...well, the cornbread attracts the gold.

Now whether you’re a believer in luck or are just hoping to luck out with a good meal, nothing beats something made by the icon herself, Dolly Parton. And when it's a recipe for some good ol' Southern skillet cornbread, well, that just makes the prospect of the year that much sweeter.

Get the recipe: Dolly Parton's Skillet Cornbread

Dolly Parton Skillet Cornbread Ingredients<p>Courtesy of Dante Parker</p>
Dolly Parton Skillet Cornbread Ingredients

Courtesy of Dante Parker

Ingredients for Dolly Parton's Skillet Cornbread

In true Southern fashion, this no-frills recipe only calls for a few ingredients: Coarse cornmeal, buttermilk, bacon drippings and salt and pepper. Dolly’s preference of cornmeal is Martha White because of its texture, but if you can’t find it, White Lilly or another coarse cornmeal will also too.

How to Make Dolly Parton's Skillet Cornbread

To get started, preheat the oven to 425°, coat your cast-iron skillet with just a little bit of the bacon drippings and place it in the oven to heat up. Next, combine the cornmeal, seasonings and the rest of the bacon drippings in a large bowl. Gradually stir in the buttermilk with a wooden spoon until the batter is stiff but smooth.

Pour the batter into the hot skillet and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cornbread springs back when you poke it in the middle. Remove from the oven, slice up the cornbread and be sure to serve it hot, because as Dolly says, "There's nothin' you can't eat with a warm wedge of cornbread alongside it!"

Related: Dolly Parton Makes Dying Man's Holiday Wish Come True in Touching Video

Dolly Parton Skillet Cornbread Process<p>Courtesy of Dante Parker</p>
Dolly Parton Skillet Cornbread Process

Courtesy of Dante Parker

What I Thought of Dolly Parton's Skillet Cornbread

Since I don’t eat pork but also couldn’t find a sufficient substitute for the pork drippings, I enlisted the help of my girlfriend who has no objections against pork and is very fond of bacon.

Our thoughts on the cornbread was that it tastes exactly how you’d expect a no-frills cornbread to taste, like cornmeal. Now this may seem like a bad review, but it's quite the opposite. Fans of cornbread fall under two classes: Jiffy and non-Jiffy. And for a non-Jiffy cornbread lover, this is exactly how you want it to taste. Not too sweet, not too cake-like and a little grainy.

This cornbread had a delicious crunchy crust, which makes this that much butter. Now add some melted butter on top or sliced into the middle, and you’re taking a trip to cornbread heaven.

Related: Christie Brinkley Defends Dolly Parton for Not Dressing 'Her Age': 'The Nerve'

Dolly Parton Skillet Cornbread Cut<p>Courtesy of Dante Parker</p>
Dolly Parton Skillet Cornbread Cut

Courtesy of Dante Parker

Tips for Making Dolly’s Skillet Cornbread

Make your own bacon drippings if you can't find it pre-packaged. If you can find already pre-packaged bacon drippings or pork grease (which I couldn’t), I’d recommend buying that to save yourself the time of cooking your own bacon to acquire the grease. If you can't find them, however, cook the bacon in the actual skillet you are going to use to bake the cornbread and use the grease from the skillet as the coating to pour in your batter.

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