Sunday, November 16, 2014
Gluten-Free Honey Cornbread
Cornbread is one of those things that for some reason, I just always seem to forget about. I have no real reason why, because I actually really love cornbread and corn muffins, and all things with corn, but they just doesn't cross my mind as often as they should. When I think of quick breads, I typically think of banana bread first, or even better, some kind of yogurt cake. Over the weekend though, I was flipping through cookbooks deciding on what I wanted to bake (because planning ahead is overrated), and I decided to flip through my newest gluten-free bake book, Sweet Cravings, by Kyra Bussanich. I saw this gluten-free cornbread recipe and I thought to myself that it was just what I needed. My mom also happens to love cornbread, so this was the perfect recipe to make, since she could enjoy it too!
This cornbread recipe is the first recipe I made from Sweet Cravings, but I knew that it would be a winner. The book is written by the first gluten-free baker to win Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, so that says a lot. I think that was really solidified my decision to go ahead and make this particular version of gluten-free cornbread was that I finally had some proof (a little, at least) that gluten-free baking really can be just as delicious as traditional baking. I've made muffins and apple crisps, and my mom has been making Skinnytaste's banana bread every week, and all of these treats have been huge successes. My opinions on the complexities of gluten-free baking are certainly changing, slowly but surely.
Out of all the gluten-free things I've made so far, this cornbread is definitely my favorite, without a doubt. It's honestly indistinguishable from a "traditional" cornbread made with wheat flour in every way possible. The texture and crumb of the cake are spot on, and as far as flavor goes...this just tastes like "real" cornbread. In other baked goods I've made, like the muffins, there are very subtle differences between the gluten-free version and the traditional version, but the differences are so minimal that they don't really matter. This cornbread is unlike the others though. I loved the way this recipe turned out, and it's made me very excited to try out the other recipes in Sweet Cravings!
Aside from tasting remarkably like a traditional cornbread, this gluten-free version is incredibly simple to make. Dry ingredients are whisked together, the wet ingredients are stirred in, the batter is poured into a pan and then baked. It takes maybe five minutes to assemble, provided you have all your ingredients on hand. This recipe, unlike the recipes from America's Test Kitchen, isn't based off a pre-made gluten-free flour mix, but rather has quantities of rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch that are particular to this recipe, and I think that was the reason why the recipe works so well. While having a pre-made all purpose mix is definitely convenient, I think working with specific quantities of the different dry ingredients yields a better result. This is me speaking from just one experience, so I'll have to keep experimenting to find out for sure.
The original cornbread recipe featured a little cayenne pepper for added heat and a spicy jalapeño honey butter to serve alongside the cornbread. I wanted a simple, barely sweetened cornbread, so I left out the cayenne pepper, skipped the homemade butter, and was very happy with the result. I love the rough texture of this cornbread, and it was just sweet enough, with underlying hints of honey. It was perfection when served just warm with a slather of butter. Since this cornbread is so quick to make, I think this would be a fantastic homemade bread option to serve at Thanksgiving dinner; even if there's no gluten-free guests attending your celebration, this is a cornbread that will go over well with everyone.
Gluten-Free Honey Cornbread
recipe from Sweet Cravings
1 1/4 cups coarse cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon xantham gum
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, sugar, rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, baking powder, salt, and xantham gum. Stir in the buttermilk, honey, butter, and eggs until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cornbread until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Remove the cornbread from the oven, set on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, remove the cornbread from the pan and cut into 9 squares. Enjoy!
Makes 9 squares