Chef Carla Hall joined "GMA" ahead of the bustling holiday season to share a simple family recipe that's a perfect side dish.

"It hits close to home because I loved my grandmother's cornbread. She would never make it until we were on the inside of the door even if we told her we're coming in 20 minutes, 'great, I'll start making that cornbread,'" Hall shared of her fond memories that inspired her new children's book.

"Carla and the Christmas Cornbread" features a young Carla Hall and the cornbread at christmastime and end up making it for Santa.

Check out her family recipe below.

Carla's Christmas cornbread

Makes two 3.5-inch round cornbreads

Ingredients for cornbread

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup store-bought canned cream-style corn

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil

Ingredients for cinnamon butter

4-ounce (1 stick) salted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract


1. Place two 3.5-inch cast iron skillets in the oven, then preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with the skillets inside so they get very hot. Be very careful not to touch the hot skillets without oven mitts or pot holders, and be sure to have an adult help with taking the skillets in and out of the oven.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, creamed corn and 1/4 cup oil.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until smooth. Using oven mitts or a pot holder, take the hot skillets out of the oven. Divide the remaining 1 tablespoon oil between the two hot skillets, quickly tilting the pan so that the oil coats the bottom and sides, and then pour the batter evenly into the skillets. The batter will begin sizzling right away.

4. Put the skillets in the oven and bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Remove the hot skillets from the oven, and place on a cooling rack to cool slightly.

5. While the cornbread bakes, prepare the cinnamon butter. In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients with a rubber spatula. Stir until everything is mixed well and is an even color (no streaks). Transfer the butter into an airtight container.

Serve the cornbread hot or warm with a dollop of cinnamon butter.