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Gluten-Free Jalapeno Cornbread

Gluten-Free Jalapeno Cornbread
Stephanie Stiavetti for NPR

This lovely cornbread was adapted from a recipe by Shauna James Ahern and her friend Martha Woodard. For those new to gluten-free baking, xanthan gum is a thickening agent that can be found in specialty stores or online.

Makes 8 servings

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup potato starch

1/4 cup sweet rice flour

2 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 cup shortening

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup low-fat milk, at room temperature

3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

1 cup yellow cornmeal

Butter or margarine for final rub

Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Generously grease a deep, 9-inch square baking dish with nonstick baking spray.

Sift the sorghum, tapioca, potato and sweet rice flours into a large bowl. Add the sugar, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum, mixing well. Cut the shortening into the flours with a pastry cutter or fork, as if you were making a pie crust. The batter should be crumbly, with coarse crumbs that resemble small peas.

Combine the eggs and milk in a small bowl and beat with a fork. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid, as if making fresh pasta. Stir with a rubber spatula until everything is combined. Add the jalapeno peppers and mix just until they are evenly distributed.

Stir in the cornmeal, whisking fast, until it is just combined. Do not overstir.

Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sides of the cornbread are slightly shrinking from the pan and a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. Rub a stick of butter along the top of the hot bread to coat and soften the crust. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

Variations: For regular cornbread, omit jalapeno peppers and increase sugar to 3 tablespoons total; cook as specified. For mildly smoky cornbread, omit jalapeno peppers and mix 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, or pimenton dulce, into dry ingredients, then continue with recipe as specified.

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