gluten-free skillet cornbread

1 cup masa harina
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup brown rice or spelt flour
1 tbs baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp salt

1 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbs flax

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together all ingredients. Heat cast iron skillet over high heat and coat with sunflower or another high-heat oil. Pour batter into skillet and bake 25-30 minutes.


gluten-free cornbread muffins

Many think of cornbread as a classic Southern food, but the first to make cornbread were Native Americans living in the what is now the Southwestern United States and Central America, who relied heavily on corn as a food source. The European settlers seemed to catch on; corn became a staple food in the New World before wheat made its way across the pond, and on the frontier cornbread grew widely recognized as a versatile bread that kept well and didn't need to rise.

Traditionally, in the northern United States recipes use sweeteners and produce a lighter cornbread more or less exchangeable with corn muffins, while southern cornbreads often use lard and are usually served as a savory item, such as a complement to chili or bean soups.

I use coarse cornmeal and whole corn kernels for texture. The maple syrup adds a very slight sweetness and flavor, but it's still on the border between sweet and savory. I like to make the cornbread in mini-muffin tins for a bite-sized snack, but they could also be made in normal muffin tins.

Prep time: about 5-10 minutes
Bake time: about 15-20 minutes
Makes about 2 dozen mini-muffins or about 1 dozen standard muffins

1+3/4 cups non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
4 teaspoons lemon juice (adding the zest is optional)

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup corn flour
1/2 cup coarse or medium-grind cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil (which makes it more savory) or coconut oil (which is more buttery)
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup fresh or frozen (and thawed) corn kernels

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease the muffin tins or line with paper cups. Whisk together the milk with flaxseed and lemon juice, then set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and oil to the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until nearly all the lumps are gone. Stir in the corn. Pour batter into the muffin tins until about 1/2 cm (or 1/4") away from the top.

Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 15-16 minutes in the mini-muffin tins or about 20-22 minutes in regular muffin tins, or until starting to brown around the edges and the sides are just barely starting to pull away from the pan. Let cool in the tins for several minutes and eat warm or at room temperature.

gluten-free thumbprint cookies

It is unclear where exactly the thumbprint cookie originated, partly because of the wide variations in both the cookie and filling. This particular type resembles the Swedish pastry hallongrottor, "raspberry caves," a molded vanilla cookie filled with raspberry jam.

The dough can be made well ahead of time and frozen. They make convenient and crowd-pleasing bite-sized finger-food for parties, though you may want to double or triple the recipe.

Makes 16 small cookies
Total time: 45 minutes

1/2 cup almond flour
1-1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
a few tablespoons jam (such as raspberry or blackberry)

Blend the rolled oats in a food processor or blender until moderately fine. Whisk together the ground oats, almond meal, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, syrup, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until thoroughly combined, using your hands if necessary. Refrigerate 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll the dough into small balls, about the size of golf-balls, and flatten them slightly between your hands. Set them on a greased cookie sheet, and indent the center with your thumb or the back of a half-teaspoon. Fill the center of each with up to a teaspoon of jam. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.


maple candied walnuts

Walnuts are the fruit of the Juglans regia, which means approximately "Jupiter's royal nut," as the ancient Romans believed the gods dined on walnuts. The walnut tree has been cultivated in Europe and Asia for millennia, but Franciscan priests brought the walnut to California around 1770.

Raw walnuts are one of the best sources of plant protein and are full of fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants. All raw nuts are rich in healthy fats, but walnuts (like flaxseeds) have significantly higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids compared to other nuts.

Along with most nuts, walnuts can be "dry roasted" for about 10 minutes at 350F to bring out their flavor. Unfortunately, this kills much of the healthy fats and nutrients (and I'm not just some weird health fanaticI've read this from multiple reasonably credible sources). I chow down on raw nuts for a healthy snack but usually reserve roasted nuts for use in desserts, which I can justify to myself because dessert is not meant to epitomize health.

These make delicious gifts, and are great as complements to meals or other desserts (such as on carrot cake or ice cream).

Makes 2 cups candied walnuts
Prep time: a few minutes
Cook time: about 25 minutes

2 cups raw walnuts
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

Spread walnuts evenly in a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until fragrant and very lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the syrup, salt (which gives it a buttery flavor), and cinnamon. (By the way, feel free to create your own spice mixture, in place of or in addition to cinnamon. I'm thinking nutmeg, ginger, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla...)

Take the nuts out of the oven and while still warm, put them in a strainer and rub them against the sides to remove the skins, which contain the bitter tannins. If possible, do this over a sink or it will make a huge mess, and don't worry if you can't remove all the skins. Dump the walnuts in the bowl with the syrup and mix until nuts are well coated. Evenly spread the nuts back onto the parchmented baking sheet and pour the remainder of the syrup mixture over them. Bake for about 15 more minutes. When you remove them from the oven, the maple syrup should be boiling, but it will crystalize as it cools (and this goes without saying, but be very carefulas I'm writing I have nasty blisters down my hands from the boiling syrup). Remove the parchment and nuts from the baking sheet and place on the counter to cool. While cooling, stir nuts often with a spoon to prevent sticking.


gluten-free banana pecan bread

1/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon arrowroot

2/3 cup (100 g) brown rice flour
1/2 cup (60g) millet flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup (300g) very ripe, mashed banana (2-3 bananas)
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup sunflower oil or coconut oil, melted

2/3 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a bread pan with coconut oil.

Vigorously whisk together the milk, flax, and arrowroot, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

Add the mashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla, and oil to the wet ingredients, then stir well.

Bake for 60-70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs stuck to it. Let it sit about 30 minutes, then turn out of the pan. Let cool.