The disruption caused by the global pandemic has me searching for comfort food. I saw a recipe for skillet cornbread recently that made me wonder if I could make a gluten-free, dairy-free version that was as comforting as the cornbread I baked when I was a child. I’ve always loved cornbread, hot and dripping with real butter, but that’s no longer an option for my family.
Most cornbread recipes require wheat flour and sugar, a food additive I’m trying to avoid. Milk or buttermilk is usually part of the recipe too. Sigh. I wanted to try skillet cornbread, so I started experimenting. A few failures later, I hit on the right formula.
The secret: Cashew cream! It’s simple to make at home if you’ve got a blender or food processor. Soak one cup raw cashews overnight, drain, add one cup water, whip in a blender for a few minutes, and ta-da! You’ve got cashew cream. Add a pinch of salt or a bit of vanilla for extra flavor.
I did sneak a little sugar into this cornbread recipe in the form of coconut nectar, that oh-so-sweet, dark, viscous liquid that has a slightly lower glycemic index than regular sugar, honey or molasses. If you don’t have coconut nectar, you can substitute maple syrup.
I often add corn kernels or jalapeno peppers to cornbread, but I left both out of this version. I wanted a pure cornbread reminiscent of that yellow Jiffy cornbread mix I made when I was a child.
I don’t have a cast iron skillet, so I baked this “skillet” cornbread in a cast iron Dutch oven. You put non-dairy butter in the skillet, and heat it in the oven until the non-dairy butter sizzles. Pour in the cornbread batter, and bake for 25 minutes. The cornbread will have a crispy crust that’s deliciously satisfying.
It’s not exactly the cornbread of my youth, but fresh from the oven and smothered in melting non-dairy butter, it’s pretty darn close.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Skillet Cornbread
Baked in a skillet, this cornbread is sweet and satisfying with a crispy crust. Serve it with maple butter for extra flavor.
- 1 tablespoon non-dairy butter
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup gluten-free flour mix
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg plus one egg white, beaten
- 1 1/4 cups cashew cream. See NOTE
- 1 tablespoon coconut nectar
- 2 teaspoons powdered monkfruit/erythritol or xylitol
- 1/3 cup melted non-dairy butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Put 1 tablespoon non-dairy butter into a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, and place it in the oven.
In a medium bowl, mix together the corn meal, flour mix, xanthan gum, salt and baking soda
In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, cashew cream, coconut nectar, sweetener and 1/3 cup melted non-dairy butter.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Carefully pour the batter into the heated pan.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned.
Allow to cool for a few minutes, then turn over onto a wire rack.
Transfer to a serving plate, cut into wedges and serve immediately with dairy-free butter. See NOTE.
For this recipe, I made cashew cream by soaking 1 cup of raw cashews overnight. The next morning, I blended the drained cashews with 1 cup filtered water. The cashew cream should be the same consistency as regular cream. I didn't add any salt or sweetener to the cashew cream because the non-dairy butter I use is very salty. This cornbread is great served with maple butter. Make it by whisking 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of softened (not melted) non-dairy butter with 1 tablespoon maple syrup or coconut nectar. Scrape the maple butter into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before serving.
Put a tablespoon of non-dairy butter in a cast iron skillet or, in this case, a Dutch oven. Put the skillet in the oven, and turn the heat to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg and egg white together until fluffy.
Stir in the cashew cream and the rest of the wet ingredients.
Whisk in the powdered monkfruit/erythritol.
Slowly pour in the melted non-dairy butter, and stir until blended.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until blended.
Carefully pour the batter into the heated pan, and bake at 375 degrees F. for 25 minutes.
The cornbread is done when it’s slightly browned on top.
Allow the cornbread to cool slightly, then flip it over onto a cooling rack. Transfer it to a serving plate, and slice into wedges.
Serve while still warm with non-dairy butter, or, my favorite, maple butter.