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Naturally Gluten Free Cornbread

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Welcome to fall! With the autumn crispness in the air, chili in many forms, becomes a regular on my dinner table. We love turkey chili, beef chili, vegetarian chili. We love it mild or light-your-head-on-fire hot. My favorite side dish for chili is cornbread.

I’ve tried many cornbreads, and I’ve found far too many that are dry and dusty, or the flavor of corn is masked by other ingredients. I really like corn to be the star of cornbread. I also need it to be gluten free…and low in the dairy protein. My kids are gluten intolerant and my youngest is having issues with dairy and dairy protein. Interestingly, it seems butter can be considered ‘dairy free’ because it is a fat and the amount of protein in it is fairly minimal, especially ghee. And my daughter (thankfully) can manage butter.
I haven’t made this with anything other than butter, but I imagine you can substitute a butter flavored shortening if you must be 100% dairy free.
This is my mothers recipe, and I can remember her baking it in a cast iron pan at our mountain cabin. My brother and I would come in from being outside in the clean mountain air with a ravenous appetite, and my mother would pull this hot out of the oven for us to gobble up. I really hope you enjoy it as much as we do in my house. Its moist, buttery, tender, and bursting with corn flavor.

As always, read through the entire recipe before starting, and if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Moms Naturally Gluten Free Cornbread

6 Tbsp of Butter, softened
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese (I use 1%)
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Can Creamed Corn
1 Cup Corn Meal. (I use Bobs Red Mill)
1 Tsp Baking Powder, mixed with a little milk or milk substitute just before adding.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Cream butter and sugar together using a stand mixer or electric mixer.
2. Add eggs, beating between each egg addition. This will look loose, but don’t worry about it.
3. Add cottage cheese, salt and creamed corn. Stir to combine.
4. Add cornmeal, mix until well blended.
5. Mix baking powder with a little milk  or dairy-free milk substitute, if needed. Add to the batter and stir to combine.
6. Pour batter into a greased or buttered baking dish 8×8 or small casserole of equivalent volume, (see photo below), or use a 10 inch cast iron pan like my mother used.
7. Bake for 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
This bread is very moist, use a small spatula to remove cut pieces.

ENJOY!

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(This small casserole is 10 x 6.5)


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These Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls are the BOMB!

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Those who follow me, know I’ve been on a mission to create a Monkey Bread worthy of my very critical tastebuds. While I am obsessed with finding a recipe for light and airy nuggets of cinnamon sugared baked dough balls, which I make ONCE A YEAR, my girls have been missing plain old fashioned cinnamon rolls, which we enjoy year ’round.  While in Seattle recently (my oldest graduated college and it was her graduation wish to take a trip out there) we found a little bakery offering gluten free cinnamon rolls at a little shop in Pikes Marketplace. Finding them, and chatting with the shop owner, we ordered them to be picked up fresh the next morning. Fresh and warm, the flavor was excellent, but they reminded me more of an expertly made biscuit dough, rolled with cinnamon, sugar and butter and baked. Don’t get me wrong, it made me re-think my monkey bread if I cannot figure out a risen dough version. But based on the oooooh’s and aaaaaah’s, along with murmurs  of happiness from my girls, it was obvious cinnamon rolls were highly cherished.

So, when I stumbled on another bloggers risen dough version of a Cinnamon Roll, I leaped at the opportunity to give it a try. Of course, I always throw my own twist in, and this time is no different. Normally, I make a gluten free baked good more than once before throwing it out there for others to enjoy. However, after posting photos on my Facebook page: Michelle Venturo Cooking Coach a friend begged for the recipe. Sooooo, here goes! (Please read the entire recipe before starting!)

I will explain some of the potential pitfalls with this recipe right up front, and share my own tips and tricks.

This dough is sticky. Like, STICKY. Its not unmanageable, but my second batch will utilize the advice I’m giving you to make the process more manageable.
1. Use a Silpat. A lot of recipes use saran wrap to help shape and ease gluten free doughs. Sorry, but just isn’t going to work here. Don’t have a Silpat? Well, go get one. They have a lot of generics out there. Just get one. You’ll thank me later. They have a multitude of uses. Every kitchen should have one!
2. Use a LOT of GF flour on your Silpat. I always have Pamelas Artisan Flour on hand, so I used that. You could use any good gluten free flour blend, or plain white rice flour. I like the blends better for applications like this, but I’m just leaving the option open. If you don’t use enough flour on that Silpat, the dough will stick. No worries, just use a floured bench scraper and gently pry it loose and keep the rolling process going.
3. Unless you melt the butter (see #8 note below), getting the creamed butter to ‘spread’ over the dough rectangle just isn’t going to happen in a pretty way. Granted, its fall/winter and my kitchen is cold, but that dough is soft. I gave myself some grace and just tried to make it work by ‘smooshing’ the butter mixture into flattened wads and laid them over the top. (see photo below)
4. Once you roll your dough log up, you need to cut your rolls. I have always used Dental Floss. It’s easy and gives a clean cut. Only have mint floss on hand? No worries! Just run it under water to wash off the mint flavor and cut a-way! (no way I’m admitting I did that)
5. Grease your pan. I use an organic coconut spray by Spectrum. It works great. but you can use melted butter. (hmmm, i think butter sounds better, don’t you?)
6. Can you use something other than Pamelas Bread Mix? I don’t know. I know that my Perfect Gluten Free Pancakes are amazing made with Pamelas Artisan Flour. I just can’t guarantee they will turn out the same. I do think Pamela’s is a true gift for the gluten free cook. It liberated me when my daughters were diagnosed. I’ve tried all the brands and I like Pamela’s best. I don’t get commission, so I think I can say I like the product and be unbiased.
7. Next time, I will use 2-3 pie pans. I think these were spread too far apart and so they had nothing to ‘grab’ in the rising process. They turned out flatter than I would have liked, and that could be due to over-rising, under-rising, or not crowded close enough together. My daughter assured me she couldn’t find a single thing wrong, so it might just be me, being self-critical!
8. Next time, I might try melting the butter for the spread. Pioneer Woman in her rolls, uses melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon. I am wondering if that would work here. I’m thinking out loud, so if you are adventurous, try it. If not, stick to the recipe. It works.
9. (Last one, sorry for so many ‘tips’!) Next time, I might let the dough rest for half hour in the mixer, gently beat down and then turn out. It works for gluten dough, helping give time for the flour to accept the liquid, making it a little dryer to deal with.

Now that we have covered some of the tips for success, let’s get to baking!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

3 Cups of Pamela’s Bread Mix.
3 large Eggs
1 cup of Buttermilk, warmed to 105 degrees. (no warmer than 115)
2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 tbsp Organic Cane Sugar
1 package of Unflavored Gelatin, softened in 1/4 cup of water.
1 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling

1 stick Unsalted Butter (8tbsp), softened
2 1/2 tbsp Cinnamon (I used half Ceylon and half Vietnamese)
1 cup Brown Sugar

**Frosting: see below

First: Add the yeast and sugar to the warmed buttermilk and let stand until it begins to foam up, about 10-15 minutes.

In a stand mixer, combine the flour, eggs and pulse. Add the yeasted-buttermilk mixture, gelatin and pulse the mixer again to combine. Add the apple cider vinegar and beat for approximately 2 minutes. (If experimenting with ‘resting’, this would be a good time to let it rest for a bit. Then give a quick pulse on the machine to ‘knead’ it down and then continue)

When dough is done, turn out onto your well-floured Silpat. Gently pat the clump out into a – sorta – rectangular shape. Then, with a very well floured rolling pin (sprinkle more flour over the top if you need to keep it from sticking) gently roll the dough out to approximately a 16×11 rectangle. (that is the shape of a standard Silpat) Trim the edges.

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Then, take your softened butter mixture (FYI: I have sped this process up but beating it with my stand mixer. Beating the butter with the sugar, allows the sugar to cut up the butter and soften it fairly quickly) and gently smooth it as you drop it on the dough. Just try to be as even as possible. Spread it as evenly as possible. (photo above)

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Here is the ‘fun’ part: rolling!  Pick up the long edge and gently begin to fold it over on the dough. You are rolling it into the shape of a log. If it is going to stick, this is where it will. Don’t panic, simply take a kitchen knife or bench scraper that has been dipped in your flour, and gently ease it off the mat and onto itself. Keep rolling. If you need to use a bit of flour to ease the rolling process, do it. When the whole thing is rolled up (photo above), pinch the seam together as best you can. Now is when your teeth cleaning skills come in to play….not really! Now is when you use your dental floss to ‘cut’ the dough. Lay it flat and slide it under the log. Then lift both ends up, cross them over and pull, it will cut off a 1.5 inch slice. Take the slice, and place it in your greased 9×13 dish, cut side up. Continue till all the dough is cut.

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Cover the pan with saran wrap. I like to put a dish towel over the top and place it in the warmest spot in your kitchen. Since I usually have my oven going, near the oven is best. If that is NOT your case, then bring 4 cups of water to a boil, put a pan in your oven that will hold the water, and pour it in, place your rolls in, and shut the oven door! The warm water will warm up the air. You might want to check the warmth after about 45 minutes. (Rolls can take 45 min- 2 hours to rise, depending upon your kitchen temp) Re-heat the water if you need to.

When the rolls have doubled in size. Heat up your oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 28-35 minutes. Check them early. They should be cooked through, but not BURNED! What can I say, some baked goods are subjective! Some people like their cookies soft and gooey, some like them hard and crispy. Bread? Needs to be cooked. Err on the safe side for more cooked. My frosting will make up for a multitude of errors!

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Make frosting while it bakes:

4 cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Maple Extract
1/4 cup Melted Butter (salted)
1-2 tbsp Nespresso. (If you don’t have a nespresso – (Big Man’s fathers day gift) – use a very strong brewed coffee.
Milk added to make the right consistency, thin enough to drizzle, but not too loose. It might be as much as 1/4 cup, could be as little as 2 tbsp.
*whisk together until smooth. When you come back to it, it might have ‘dried out’ a bit, so add a bit of milk or coffee to thin it out.
*if using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt.

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Immediately upon removing from the oven, turn out onto a platter. Sounds easy? Yeah. I still find it intimidating! Here is the trick. I have a full sheet pan. (large lightweight platter works too) I place a piece of parchment on it. I take that sheet pan (or platter if you don’t have a sheet pan big enough) and I invert it onto the top of the hot baking dish.  Put on your oven mitts, and with one hand on the sheet pan, one on the bottom of the baking dish, flip. The rolls will slip right out.

Then, while warm, pour frosting over the top. (This is what it looks like flipped over!)

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And, here is the final product….after little munchkins have nibbled away at it. By the end of the night, half was gone.

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So, I guess that is the best testimony! My daughter says this post will go viral. It will be fun to see if her high marks are agreed upon.
Please, leave any feedback or questions below in the comments. I would love to know how they turned out for you, or if something is not clear enough!


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Gluten Free Thanksgiving Dressing ( Grandma Nettie’s Stuffing)

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***Update: After putting my own bread in this morning, I am re-adjusting the temp to 250 and will recommend you check every 10 minutes for up to 40 minutes. Mine took 40 minutes, which hubby dutifully tended while I hit the grocery stores. DAB the bread cubes with butter, you’re not soaking here. Just adding a layer of flavor and encouraging normally difficult GF bread to dry out crispy, intact and give something for the herbs to stick to. I am including photos I took as I prepared the croutons and the mix. Hopefully tomorrow I can post a better picture than the one above! Check recipe again for any additional tips, tricks and modifications.****

This was the stuffing recipe handed down to me from my mother, who has since passed away. For many years, I stuffed the turkey with the very same version, only it was normal bread croutons, Pepperidge Farms Herbed Dressing to be exact.

With the discovery of my daughters gluten intolerance, I’ve had to come up with an alternative. Due to the nature of GF breads, it would turn to mush inside the bird, so, I have created a dressing version instead. (Dressing is what it is called when not baked inside the bird)

You can use Udi’s bread for this recipe, but I highly recommend ‘Goodbye Gluten’. It’s shelf stable and the texture is incredibly good, and the resulting dressing is light instead of dense. I use both whole grain and white for color and texture. This dish is such a favorite in our household, that I have actually taken it with me on the occasion we were invited to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving. I cannot imagine Thanksgiving without it! Here, we call it “Grandma Nettie’s Stuffing”. You’ll just call it DELISH! (Read the recipe all the way to the end before tackling. You can put questions in the comment section below!)

Grandma Netties Stuffing

3/4 loaf Goodbye Gluten white bread, cubed, 1/2 inch (crusts removed is optional. if you remove crusts, use the entire loaf, leaving out the loaf end pieces)

3/4 loaf Goodbye Gluten whole grain bread, cubed, 1/2 inch (ditto above comment)

2 cubes butter, 1 cube melted

1 tsp herbs de provence or an italian mix

1 med-large onion, chopped small dice

3-4 stalks celery, small dice

1 pound breakfast sausage (check for gluten if making GF)

1 can water chestnuts, diced (yes, water chestnuts. Trust me!)

1 tsp dried sage, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh (optional, we like ours with a good dose of sage)

1-3 cups warmed Homemade Turkey Stock (or good quality, low-sodium Chicken Stock)

extra melted butter for basting, and extra stock for adding moisture if needed.
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Lay the bread cubes out on sheet pans and gently brush with 1/3-1/2cup of the melted butter.
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Season with salt. (I use my silpat for easy cleanup) Sprinkle with the Herbs de Provence
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and bake until the cubes are dried out and crisp. Stir a couple of times, so that all sides are exposed to the heat. This may take between 20-40 minutes, depending upon the moistness of your bread. (I have done this up to a week in advance, freezing them in a ziploc freezer bag and defrosting on a sheet pan when needed.) Let cool.
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Cook sausage in a large skillet, till no longer pink. Remove from pan, wipe skillet with a paper towel and add butter to melt. Add onions and celery and cook on medium heat until tender, but still a bit crisp. Add back the sausage and the diced water chestnuts. (This step can also be done up to 3-4 days in advance, refrigerating and rewarming to melt the butter prior to assembly)
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When ready to bake, toss the warm sausage mixture with the bread cubes and sage, gently, until evenly combined. Add the turkey stock until the mixture looks moist, but not wet. This is going to take some eyeballing, just remember, you can always add more stock for moisture. You most definitely do not want a soggy mess, err on the side of caution. Start with 1 cup of stock, adding 1/2 cup increments until it absorbs some of the liquid, but are still fully intact.
Pour this mixture into your casserole dish or desired baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. The first photo is a 9×13 pyrex dish, but I doubled the recipe for this. Baste frequently with additional melted butter, and stock if needed. Your goal here is for the top to become buttery/crunchy/golden and the underneath to be moist, tender and yet still fluffy. You can check the progress with a fork, gently lifting the top layer to get a gauge on how the bottom layer is doing. When the underneath steams and the top is browned, it’s done.
If you are looking for a traditional tasting stuffing that is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters, you can’t go wrong with this one. If you try it this year, or at any time, let me know what you think!
POSTNOTES:
– I wrote this recipe in this format, so that it feels like I am in the kitchen with you, walking you through the steps.
– It sounds vastly more complicated than it actually is.
– This recipe is also very flexible: If you hate sage, omit sage. If you want to trim some of the fat, cut the butter by half and drain the sausage. We don’t, because I eat this once a year and we like it just exactly this way, plus I limit how much I take. Portion control!
– You can up the ingredients to suit your taste. I believe in the photo, I used a pound and a half of sausage. What can I say? Pork and pork fat rules.
– You can make this dressing with regular old bread cubes from the bag (which I did for decades) using the liquid portions listed on the package.
– For leftovers we always, and I mean ALWAYS have a turkey sandwich on white ‘bread’ with thick slices of turkey, mayo, cranberry sauce and stuffing. It honestly makes for the BEST sandwich ever, and as I said above, it’s a sandwich I eat once a year, so I allow myself the indulgence.
– I apologize for the anemically yellow photo of the finished dish. One of my goals this Thanksgiving is to pick my brothers brain on ways to achieve better pictures. He is a photographer, and obviously I am not. My trusty iPhone has served me well on my Facebook cooking page, but it’s time to step up my game!