Wednesday, November 14, 2012

vegan (gluten and soy free) cornbread

One of my favorite comfort foods has to be cornbread - perhaps it stems from the first seven years of my life spent living in the south. When I was a young girl I remember making cornbread with my mom, usually from a box of Jiffy mix (sad, but true). However when we went to my grandmother's house, we feasted on cornbread made from scratch. Needless to say, my cornbread making skills have evolved significantly since my childhood days. I've also become quite particular as to what types of cornbread I like. For instance, I don't care for dry or overly sweet cornbread and I prefer the texture to be more fluffy than dense.

For the last 6 months I have been corn-free and decided recently that I would like to begin incorporating a small amount of it back into my diet.  Interestingly enough, one might think that after such a long break I would no longer crave cornbread.  Surprisingly not the case!  And I believe there is a reason why my body craves it, so I am listening to it and giving in.  With the change of seasons (Fall and Winter being my favorites) comes yummy soups, which always pair nicely with a piece of cornbread.  Now that I am a gluten and soy free vegan, it has made my mission to create the perfect cornbread recipe that much more challenging.  The recipe below was created after making many trial runs where I played with the types of flours, dry to liquid ingredient ratios, egg replacers and even the oven temperature.  I would love to be able to cook this cornbread at 350°F, but it just does not set up quite right.  I suppose that is why most all of the cornbread recipes I found online had oven temps ranging from 400°F to 425°F.

In terms of the flour, you could use an all purpose flour for this recipe and it would turn out just fine. Since I have celiac disease, that is not an option for me.  The only gluten-free flours I use are the ones listed below.  For those of you interested, I have also listed the frequency to which I use each flour.  All of the flours I use are organic, xanthan gum and GMO free.  For some reason xanthan gum does not agree with my digestive system.  And if truth be told, I do not like the texture (it usually leaves a yucky slippery coating on the roof of my mouth) or the odor it produces after it's been baked either.

Almond Flour - 85% of the time
Buckwheat Flour - 5% of the time
Hemp Flour - 5% of the time
Brown Rice Flour  - 2% of the time
Cornmeal - 2% of the time
Coconut Flour - 1% of the time

cornbread recipe ingredients

1 1/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup almond milk or other milk of your choice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup coconut nectar, raw honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil, other oil of your choice or vegan butter
2 tablespoons coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with butter or oil (I used coconut oil). Measure out all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir.  Pour all of the liquid ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until well-combined and smooth.  Turn the batter into the baking dish.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a butter knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool for 25 to 30 minutes before serving.  I like to cut off a nice square piece and smother it with butter - I use Earth Balance!

Feel free to tweak the recipe by swapping out different flours, sugars and oils.  If you like a sweeter cornbread, add 1 tablespoon more of sugar.  If you prefer it to be a bit richer, add 1 more tablespoon of oil.  And if you would like it to be more dense, only 1/2 cup of milk.  You can also add ingredients like jalapenos or fresh corn to it as well.  If you get creative, please share your recipe in the comments section below.

“Her corn-cake, in all its varieties of hoe-cake, dodgers, muffins and other species too numerous to mention, was a sublime mystery to all less practised compounders.”

~Harriet Beecher Stowe

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