Sweets rule the holidays. I am certainly not complaining, but I’ve already heard rumblings from those around me that they’ve had enough treats for a while. Well, as far as I am concerned, there’s no such thing as too many treats, but everyone needs a break.
That’s just one part of it. The other part of why this cacao and cayenne cornbread is a gift that doesn’t suck (although it might seem a little weird) is that—for a gluten-free person—a good loaf of bread is something sacred. It’s worth its weight in Starbucks gift cards. We go through a lot for good bread, but it’s usually a solitary pursuit: traveling to out-of-the-way grocery stores and toiling through kitchen disasters. When someone steps in with a good loaf of bread, we appreciate it.
This is an update on to my go-to cornbread recipe. It’s simple, but with the addition of cayenne and cacao nibs it has enough character to feel like a truly special thing to receive. The recipe is below, but first, I also wanted to offer some suggestions for other good gluten-free loafs to give if cornbread isn’t your thing.
Gluten-free Girl and the Chef’s Gluten-free Crusty Boule: I make this bread a lot. A LOT. On its own, it’s a perfect loaf of bread, but update it for the season by stirring in some fresh cranberries and chopped fresh rosemary after the first rise.
Gluten-free in the City’s Banana Bread: I consider banana bread to be one of the more forgiving things you can bake, but for the longest time I couldn’t find a recipe that turned out just right. Then I found this one. I made it with some adjustments here and think adding some dried cherries and finely chopped dark chocolate would make it extra-giftable.
Renegade Kitchen’s Pumpkin Spice Bread: I haven’t tried this one yet, but it’s been on my list. If you’re like me, you want pumpkin baked good season to last forever and totally wouldn’t mind receiving this in December.
Gluten-free Cacao and Cayenne Cornbread
Adapted from here and especially here. Note: Bob’s Red Mill now has dedicated gluten-free corn flour and cornmeal, but make sure to look for their little gluten-free seal. I ordered mine online, but they haven’t seemed to reach all the grocery stores shelves yet.
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill AP Gluten-free Baking flour (Or experiment with your favorite flour blend. I am out of both potato and tapioca starch, so I went the safe route.)
1/4 cup corn flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
3 T sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 t xanthan gum
1/8 to 1/4 t cayenne (with 1/8 there was just a little heat, so 1/4 would probably be smokin!)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 melted butter
a handful of cacao nibs (2-3 T)
1. Preheat oven to 400 and grease a 9 inch round pan (or something close: a cast iron if you’re feeling legit).
2. Melt the butter using your preferred melting method and let it cool while you complete the remaining steps.
3. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
4. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Add the buttermilk and finally the melted butter. Stir to combine.
5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined.
6. Pour into the greased pan and sprinkle with cacao nibs.
7. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. The edge of the cornbread should also pull away from the pan slightly.