I recently realized that my favorite cornbread recipe had lost something. The zing had disappeared from our relationship. While I still liked the bones of the recipe—the texture, especially, remained fantastic—the flavor needed a little makeover.
My original recipe made a classic skillet cornbread, gluten-free, of course. After taking a look at it, I decided to swap out a couple of ingredients: brown butter replaced flavorless vegetable oil, and brown rice flour replaced white rice flour. I thought the brown butter's nutty-caramel flavor called for just a touch of sweetness, so I added a little maple syrup. I know, I know, a cornbread recipe including sweetener sounds heretical to some. The maple syrup adds a slight whisper of sweetness, not the kind of overt sweetness you find in a corn muffin, I promise..
These small ingredient changes did just what I hoped they would. The cornbread still tastes like cornbread, with some pleasant nutty undertones. I plan to serve it on Thanksgiving. I think it will be perfect with all the different flavors that find their way onto the Thanksgiving table.
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
- 7 1/2 ounces (1 1/4 cups) gluten-free cornmeal
- 6 1/2 ounces (1 1/4 cups) brown rice flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil for the pan
Adjust oven rack to middle position. Place a seasoned 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven. Preheat oven to 425 °F.
I small pot, melt butter over medium heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove it from the heat and allow to cool for three minutes.
In medium bowl, combine cornmeal, brown rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add buttermilk, eggs, maple syrup, and brown butter. Whisk until batter forms.
Remove cast iron skillet from oven. Spray with non-stick cooking spray or lightly brush bottom and sides of pan with with vegetable oil.
Pour batter into hot pan. Batter will sizzle when it hits pan. Return pan to oven. Bake for until cornbread is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly, cut into pieces and serve. Cornbread is best the day it is made.