Special equipment: a 6-inch cast-iron skillet
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Saute the onion, celery and carrots until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and put into a large bowl. Add the cornbread croutons, seasoned croutons, thyme, rosemary, sage and cayenne if using. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper, then stir in the eggs. Mix to combine and pour into a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Bake until golden brown and fluffy but still moist, 45 to 55 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil to a 6-inch cast-iron skillet. Put the skillet in the oven and allow to heat until very hot, 6 to 8 minutes.
Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl with a whisk. In a different bowl, combine the almond milk, applesauce, sorghum, egg and 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Fold to combine.
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and pour in the batter. Return the skillet to the oven and bake until golden with a crisp crust, 25 minutes. Let cool before cutting the cornbread into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups).
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a baking sheet with some coconut oil and spread the cornbread in a single layer. Be careful, the cornbread is fragile and you don¿t want to be rough with it. Drizzle lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring halfway through, until golden brown and crunchy, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet before using.
Sorghum syrup is made from the sweet juice of the sorghum plant, a variety of cereal grass. It's popular in the south as a sweetener for baked goods. You can find it at natural food stores or specialty online retailers.