Saturday, November 17, 2012

Masa Harina Cornbread (GF)

First, let me apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. You'll have to just trust me.

When I started to make black beans the other day (now in March, when I was still eating animal products, since I didn't remember to take pictures the next time I made this either), I realized I didn't have enough rice. Oops. Oh well, I had some masa harina (tamale style, though I'm not convinced it really makes a difference). I poked around on the internet until I found a masa harina cornbread recipe. That recipe, apparently, didn't come out very fluffy but had a strong corn tortilla taste. 

To counteract the flat nature of the cornbread, I didn't use a preheated skillet and I increased the baking powder from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. I also used melted butter because, growing up in the south, I never once saw a cornbread recipe that didn't use melted butter. I reduced the amount of butter and added some olive oil (because why not), but you could certainly use all butter if you were so inclined. It definitely leaves a lightly buttery flavor in the cornbread at this ratio. I increased the amount of honey because 1 tablespoon seemed too low and added a dash of cinnamon for a little extra complexity--and to complement the flavors in the black beans.

The cornbread that came out was light, rather than dense, and had a nice corn flavor without being overwhelming. I wasn't really reminded of "corn tortillas," probably because I added a little extra sweetener, and because of the cinnamon.

I let it cool for about an hour before I cut into it, so I can't attest to how well it will hold together still hot, but at "lightly warm" it held together beautifully, without adding any binders other than the ones you see. I saw one variation similar to this one, meant to be gluten-free, that added xanthan gum and an extra egg--lots of extra binder in other words. Not necessary and that just increases your overall cost, so I recommend against it. Plus, let's face it, it increases the "tastes gluten-free" factor. 

Masa Harina Cornbread
1 1/2 cups masa harina
1/2 cup brown rice flour

1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter, honey, and olive oil and stir to combine well. Add the eggs, mix, and then add the milk. The batter should appear moderately wet at first, but will quickly start to thicken. Pour into a greased pie pan and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then turn up to 425 degrees for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top.

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