Thursday, February 6, 2014

GF Experiments - All-corn cornbread!

Hey, look how these are not TOTALLY horrible pictures! I'm learning, little by little, to make them better.

Anyway, this is all-corn cornbread! Naturally gluten free and super-simple to make, and totes tasty. I found the recipe here at Plan To Eat, and I made it to a tee--no changes, so I'll not repeat it here in case that's stealing or something. But I AM going to give lots of notes.

The first time I made the CB, I made it in an 8x8 glass baking dish (the same one I used for the Crispies, actually), and I used yellow corn meal because that's what's usually used for cornbread, and it was tasty--but the grind was coarser than something I would strictly call 'flour'. It was much finer than grits, but not so powdery as flour usually is, and the heavier bits of corn sank down to the bottom so that the bottom was denser than the top, a little polenta-y, and the eggs sort of floated to the top and formed, like, a custard skin. It was tasty as all get-out, but it's so not what I intended and it's not at all what the recipe said.

I ate that one with butter and syrup instead of having a waffle when we had Breakfast For Dinner. I think it would be amazing with, like, green chilis and cheese mixed in, and maybe roasted red peppers; they'd sort of float with the eggs and milk and make it like a quiche-cornbread.

This time, I made it with the white corn, because it was a finer mill, and cooked it in a muffin tin. They came out of the oven puffy, but by the time they were cooled enough to come out, they had all sunken down in the middle--and you know what, that's fine. Because now they're like little yum-shells. The same dense, corn flavor, though a little milder with the white corn, and none of the separation that happened with the yellow. These are good with sweet and savory fillings--I did blackberry jam, nutella and cream cheese--are chewy without being weird, warm up beautifully, are dense but not hard or hard to eat, and two or three make a perfect mid-morning mini-meal.

Because they're made of mostly eggs and milk (the recipe is two cups of milk and two eggs), they're loaded with protein and really satisfying.

I used honey the first time, like the recipe says, and brown sugar the second, and didn't detect any difference in sweetness; they're barely sweet at all, really.

There's leavener in here, but no gluten to hold the fluffiness in; I'm thinking of subbing some of the corn flour for, like, brown and sweet rice, maybe, and see if that lightens it up more. Although, being this dense makes it a perfect base for heavier things like chili or stew or ratatouille or something--I think I'll make a batch in the jellyroll pan and see how it comes out baked in a thin slab for putting dinners on. Or I'll bake it in a bread pan and then pan-fry the slices and top THEM.

mmm, saucy things on top of starches...

The recipe says you can make it with water instead of milk to make it vegan, and that has my wondering if I could sub in other liquids. Like, can I make it with juice? I think orange juice with orange zest would be good. Apple juice would probably be good, too, and I could add cinnamon and some chopped nuts. Could I make it with two cups of strong tea and more sugar, and call it a literal tea-cake? I bet lemon and milk would make a sort of lemony buttermilk thing that I could add zest and poppyseeds to, also...

One of my favorite things ever is a simple recipe because of questions like these, questions that boil down to "how versatile can I make this stuff, and in how many different flavors?"

Do you have a favorite cornbread recipe? Share it in the comments! What would you do with this one?
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