I’m sure you can imagine there is no shortage of deliciousness in the Bon Appétit test kitchen every day. As recipes are tested, they are placed on the counter for tasting by all of us. I generally taste a spoonful, sometimes a very small plateful, as long as it is gluten-free. Rarely do I eat too much of each dish as I anticipate even more coming shortly thereafter. Yes, I know, it’s tough work. Someone has to do it, don’t they?
Most of the others in the kitchen seem to do the same. One bite or two just to see how it tastes and then we move on. However, there are some plates that get finished or wrapped up pretty quickly to be enjoyed at home. I’m very happy to say this cornbread I made for family meal was one of those. I got to know a few people better as they lingered around to taste it that day. I learned one editor has a daughter with gluten intolerance and another grew up in the south and loved eating his mom’s cornbread. We talked about how they make it without flour down there and a little about how I have come to put together my own gluten-free blend.
It was beyond the greatest compliment when there was nothing left in the skillet but a few crumbs. More importantly, it was a reminder to me of the power of food. Food brings people together and inspires us to share stories. It reminds us of special people and times in our lives. When I make a really tasty gluten-free version of classic food like cornbread, it’s such a win for me. Mainly because I know some of you who haven’t been able to have it in a while will be able to do so again. What’s better than that?
At Bon Appétit, we just happened to have some honey butter hanging out in the fridge. We spread it on the cornbread and it really took it to the next level. I highly recommend you do the same. Just whip together honey and softened butter and voilà, you have something a little more special. As for my gluten-free flour blend, I use this formula but I’ll write the recipe with King Arthur’s since it is my favorite substitute and probably much easier for many of you to get. Use this recipe as a base for any cornbread you want to make. As Chef Ted, one of my favorite instructors in culinary school used to say, “You are only limited by your imagination!”
- 1¼ cups ground cornmeal
- ¾ cup gluten free flour blend (or King Arthur's gluten-free flour blend plus ¼ tsp zanthan gum)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed, plus additional for garnish
- 2 Tbl honey
- HONEY BUTTER
- 1 stick butter
- ¼ cup honey
- Heat oven to 425 degrees and place a 10-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat it while you prepare the batter
- Melt butter in a small saucepan
- Whisk together cornmeal, gluten-free flour blend (plus xanthan gum, if needed), salt baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Whisk all remaining items into the bowl, reserving about 1 tablespoon of butter for the skillet.
- Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- Coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with the remaining butter.
- Pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven.
- Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.
- HONEY BUTTER
- Whip together butter and honey and keep at room temperature until ready to serve. Store any remaining in the refrigerator.