Friday, December 11, 2015

GF Marie Callendar's Style Cornbread - Take 1

Melanie informed me that Gluten-Free Mike had been lamenting the loss of Marie Callender cornbread in his life.  I understand. It is indeed a lamentable loss.

And, unlike Spouse 1.0, Gluten-Free Mike can't like the dense, corny cornbread made in cast iron skillets.  No, to Gluten-Free Mike, "cornbread" has only one definition: Marie Callender.

So, what could I say, other than, "Challenge accepted!!"

My first thought was to try incorporating corn and honey into my garbanzo bread. I rejected that idea before even getting home to my mixing bowl.  Instead, I reached for my iPad and started googling. Surely someone had done a GF copycat recipe.  They had. I tried it, and it was good in the way that an over-sweetened box of Jiffy cornbread would be good.

As in, not good enough.

I thought back to the first time I had Marie's bread. I splurted, "This isn't cornbread! It's cake!"

It took me many Sunday lunches of steamed vegetables to accept the idea that having a square of dessert with your steamed vegetables wasn't a bad thing.  And, many more Sunday lunches to come to love the stuff.

So, back to Gluten-Free Mike and the quest for cornbread.

If Marie's is more cake than bread, then I need to understand the ratio differences between quickbread and cake. Fortunately, Spouse 1.0 got me the Ratio book last year for Christmas.

I decided to try something half way between a quickbread and a cake. And, it worked!

Unlike a lot of my recipes, this one is all about specific ingredients and correct technique.  You'll dirty more things when you make this.  But, it is so very worth it.

I haven't heard yet whether the bread passes the Gluten-Free Mike test. But, since everyone else likes it, here it is: The bread and its back story.
Since this is half way between a bread and a cake, use a cake making method.  First, you cream the butter and sugar in your stand mixer until it is very, very creamy.  Scrape the bowl a time or two while it is mixing.
Cream butter and sugar
Cream butter and sugar
While the fat and sugar are creaming, prepare the dry ingredients.  Grind the cornmeal in a clean coffee grinder or a high power blender until the cornmeal is warm.  If using the coffee grinder, do it in two stages. Add all dry ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.

Mix dry ingredients
Mix dry ingredients together

Once the fat and sugar is well creamed, add the eggs and mix until they are well incorporated. Don't over mix. You don't want the eggs to get tough. Scrape the bowl.

Add eggs
Add eggs

Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture in 2 or three stages, mixing only well enough to incorporate and scraping the bowl a couple of times.

Add dry ingredients
Add dry ingredients
Add the clabbered milk and mix just until incorporated. Gently scrape the bowl once while mixing. The batter will be fluffy and beautiful. 

Add clabbered milk
Add clabbered milk
Gently pour the fluffy, beautiful batter into a well-greased 8" pan.  Wet your fingers and gently smooth the batter so that it is evenly distributed. 

gently spread batter in 8 inch pan

Bake and enjoy.  Of course, you'll want to mix up some honey butter to go with this. 

Pamela's Marie-Style Cornbread


1-2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
4 ounces goat milk
2 ounces butter, softened but not melted
2 ounces Spectrum organic shortening
4 ounces (1/2 cup) organic sugar
2 large eggs
3 ounces Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten Free Cornmeal*
3 ounces Authentic Foods Classic Gluten Free Blend**
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp xanthan gum

  1. Thoroughly grease an 8" square baking pan and preheat oven to 350 (f).
  2. Pour 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar into cup.
  3. Add goat milk to weigh 4 ounces. Set aside to clabber.
  4. Weigh butter, shortening, and sugar into the mixing bowl and set it to creaming. Scrape bowl periodically.***
  5. Grind cornmeal in a clean coffee grinder or a high powered blender.
  6. Add dry ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate.
  7. Add eggs to butter-sugar mixture. Mix just enough to thoroughly incorporate. Scrape bowl once while mixing.
  8. Add dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture in at least two stages.  Mix just enough to incorporate. Scrape 2-3 times while mixing.
  9. Add clabbered milk, mixing just enough to incorporate.  Scrape bowl once while mixing.
  10. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan.  Wet fingers and smooth batter evenly in the pan.
  11. Bake 350 for about 25-30 minutes, until toothpick tests done.

* I love Bob's Red Mill products, and I love the course grind of their cornmeal for other things.  For this bread, you really do need the finer grind of Arrowhead Mills.

** Authentic Foods grinds their brown rice flour more finely than other brands I've used.  This is important for the fluffiness factor. 

*** Be sure to turn your mixer off and unplug it while scraping the bowl. 

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