Spicy Cheddar Shortbread

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadI figure you’ve all got your Thanksgiving menus nailed down by now, but can I just suggest one more thing? Just one?

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadOkay, good.

You don’t want to miss these Spicy Cheddar Shortbread. They’re the slice-and-bake cheese plate addition that you didn’t know you needed. But make no mistake, you do.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadYou may not need them on Thursday (because you probably have it all together and have already started making your cornbread and rough puff–you’re totally killing this Thanksgiving business 🙌🏻), but sometime between now and January 2nd, you’re going to be very happy you have this recipe in your back pocket.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadI mean, these savory shortbread are basically cheese crackers for adults. They’re crispy and light-textured with a full-bodied cheddar flavor because, unlike the cheese crackers you can buy at the grocery store, these guys are made with real cheese. Oh, and on top of all that, the dough comes together in five minutes in the food processor.

You’re welcome.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadThis dough really couldn’t be simpler. Start by grating half a pound of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadPut some flour, black pepper, cayenne, and salt in a food processor.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadThrow the cheese in there and pulse everything into a rubble.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadSpicy Cheddar ShortbreadAdd some cold butter and a teaspoon of mustard…

Spicy Cheddar Shortbreadand process it until it’s dough.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadForm it into logs, wrap it in plastic, and give it a chill. Then slice…

Spicy Cheddar Shortbreadand bake.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadMaybe serve them next to a big pile of apple slices, just to be extra seasonal. Or maybe put them on a cheese plate. I’m gonna do that for aaaallllllll the holiday parties.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadBut I’m also going to pile them in a jar and eat them by their lonesome because they’re so good, they don’t need any accoutrements. I suggest you do the same.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadHappy Thanksgiving, dear readers 💗

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadSpicy Cheddar Shortbread
makes about 4 dozen shortbread

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
8 ounces grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard

Combine flour, cayenne, black pepper, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter, cheddar, and mustard, and process until a dough ball forms. Divide dough in half and form into two 8-inch logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices and place at least an inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, or until light golden at the edges. Let cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Shortbread are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to two days.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato Pie

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieWith Thanksgiving just six days away, I hope you’re all narrowing down your menus. Don’t worry, there’s still time. If you’ve forgotten to order a turkey, don’t fret–my family hasn’t eaten a traditional Thanksgiving meal in years and we’ve all turned out alright 😉

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieTraditional or not though, you should add this Silky Smooth Sweet Potato Pie to your menu. It’s so simple and so good that I was honestly a little sad to give the last two slices to my friends David and Francis on Wednesday night. I have had more than my fair share of pie while recipe testing the last few weeks, but I really loved this one, even though I didn’t know if I would.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieI remember the first time I heard about Sweet Potato Pie–I recoiled in horror just like I did when my mother first offered me Zucchini Bread. I have always liked sweet potatoes, but as far as I was concerned they were not suitable for dessert. Never mind that every holiday sweet potato dish I’d had up to that point was made with eggs, butter, and more brown sugar than any side dish really should have 🙄 

Thank goodness I grew up. I’d hate to miss out on this smooth, spiced sweet potato masterpiece.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieSweet Potato Pie is super easy to make. Start by making some sweet potato purée. Scrub a couple of whole sweet potatoes and put them in a pot with some cold water.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieBoil them until they’re nice and soft. Run them under cold water until you can handle them and then remove their skins and slice them into manageable pieces.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PiePush them through a sieve to remove any fibrous bits. This will take a few minutes.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieWhisk the purée together with some melted butter and 3/4 cup light brown sugar. Oh, and some cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. The spices really make the sweet potatoes sing.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieAdd in three eggs and some vanilla.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieAnd throw some sour cream in for good measure.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieThen push it all through the sieve again. This pie is called “silky smooth” for a reason.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PiePour the filling into a prepared crust, brush the exposed pie dough with egg wash, and loosely wrap the entire pan in foil (or use a pie protector). This will keep the crust from burning while it bakes.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieSilky Smooth Sweet Potato PieBake the pie for thirty minutes with the foil, then for fifteen without. After that, turn off the oven and leave the pie in the oven for another 15 minutes. You might remember this method from last week’s Chocolate Buttermilk Pie.Silky Smooth Sweet Potato Pie

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieLet the pie cool a bit. You don’t have to wait until it’s room temperature if you don’t want to–Sweet Potato Pie is good warm, room temp, or cold.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieSlice it up. Try not to send a picture of your pie to everyone in your phone contacts.

(I failed pretty hard on that last part.)

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieYou can serve this pie plain, but it’s Thanksgiving, so whipped cream is kind of a must.

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieSilky Smooth Sweet Potato PieTake a bite. Practically weep over how delicious and velvety smooth this pie is. Briefly wonder why you ever judged Sweet Potato Pie in the past…but only briefly. You don’t have time for that–you have pie to eat.Silky Smooth Sweet Potato Pie

Looking for more pie? Try my Pumpkin Pie, Cranberry Apple Pie, or Black Bottom Pear & Almond Pie!

Silky Smooth Sweet Potato PieSilky Smooth Sweet Potato Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough, or other good pie crust
16 ounces raw sweet potatoes, whole and unpeeled 
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

Scrub whole sweet potatoes. Place them in a 4-6 quart pot and cover with cold tap water. Bring to a boil over high heat and let cook 45-50 minutes or until a paring knife slices them easily. Place hot sweet potatoes in a colander and run under cold tap water until you can handle them.

On a floured surface, roll out pie dough to a 12″ diameter. Fit into a 9″ pie plate and trim the overhang to 1/2-inch. Crimp the edges and chill the crust while you prepare the filling.

Place an oven rack in the lowest position and ensure that there is at least 6 inches of space above it. Preheat oven to 375F.

Transfer sweet potatoes on a cutting board. Peel off and discard skins. Cut potatoes into a few large pieces.

Place a sieve (or wire mesh colander) over a mixing bowl. Put the sweet potato pieces in the sieve and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to push them through and into the bowl. Set sieve aside.

Add melted butter, light brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt to the sweet potato purée and whisk together. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, followed by sour cream.

Place sieve back over a large mixing bowl. Pour in filling and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon push it through.

Remove prepared crust from the refrigerator and place on a sheet pan. Pour filling into crust. Whisk together egg wash ingredients and brush mixture onto exposed crust. Loosely wrap a 4-5 foot piece of aluminum foil around the pie, securing the ends by crumpling them together. Bake pie on the bottom rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes, until puffed at the edges (it may look underdone in the center–this is normal). Turn off oven and open door slightly. Let pie remain in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Remove pie from oven and let cool completely on a rack. Pie may be served slightly warm, room temperature, or cold. Slice and serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Leftover pie will keep at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Palmiers, Two Ways

Palmiers, Two WaysPalmiers (you might know them as “Elephant Ears”) are a simple pastry made by rolling a thin layer of filling into a sheet of flaky pastry dough. If you’re anything like me, you spent way too much of the early 2000s watching Ina Garten make them on the Food Network.

Palmiers, Two WaysThe whole appeal of palmiers is that they’re stupid easy and make you look like you know things about French pastry. It’s super common to use frozen puff pastry for palmiers–Ina does it, and until a couple of weeks ago, that’s all I’d ever used too. After using a sheet of rough puff pastry leftover from making Maple Pear Tarts though, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using the packaged stuff. I mean, look at these layers 😍

Palmiers, Two WaysPalmiers, Two WaysYou can certainly use frozen puff pastry (preferably the all-butter stuff) for today’s recipes, but I encourage you to try your hand at making rough puff. Pastry is intimidating to many home cooks, but this one is about as easy as if gets. As I said a couple of weeks ago, it’s easier than pie dough.

Palmiers, Two WaysPalmiers, Two WaysPalmiers, Two WaysThe possibilities for filling are nearly endless. Since the pastry doesn’t contain any sugar on its own, it works well with both sweet and savory fillings. Basically, if it can be spread or scattered, it can almost certainly be rolled into a palmier. I mean, if you play your cards right, you can start and end your meal with these elegant little pastries.

Palmiers, Two WaysPalmiers, Two WaysPalmiers, Two WaysIf you’re looking for a way to spice up your Turkey Day hors d’oeuvres spread, look no further than my Spinach Artichoke Palmiers. They’re filled with a slightly deconstructed version of my mom’s Artichoke Dip: a slick of mayonnaise, some chopped artichokes, and grated parmesan. I added spinach to bulk them up a bit, but you can leave it out if you like. I might swap it for chopped green chilies next time.

Palmiers, Two WaysAs far as dessert goes, I love the idea of serving a plate of Pumpkin Palmiers alongside a pot of coffee. And pie.

Palmiers, Two WaysWhat?! It’s Thanksgiving. It’s a two-dessert day. Three, if you count the Apple Cider Coffee Cake that you absolutely should make for breakfast. Anyway…

Palmiers, Two WaysPumpkin Palmiers are filled with a very pared down version of pumpkin pie filling: a light brushing of butter, pumpkin purée, three tablespoons of light brown sugar, and some pumpkin pie spice. Mix everything up and spread it all over the pastry.

Palmiers, Two WaysRoll up the dough and give it a chill.

Palmiers, Two WaysPalmiers, Two WaysSlice up the palmiers and give them a quick brush with milk and a sprinkling of coarse sugar.

Palmiers, Two WaysIf you’re making the Spinach Artichoke version, swap the sugar for parmesan–toasty cheese, y’all 🙌🏻🙌🏻

Palmiers, Two WaysNo matter which kind of palmiers you’re making, the baking process is the same. Let them go for ten minutes at 400F. Flip them over, brush them with more milk and sprinkle on more coarse sugar (or cheese). Let them bake for ten more minutes and then, well…

Palmiers, Two WaysPalmiers, Two WaysThis is the part where you pretend you know things about French pastry.

Palmiers, Two WaysPalmiers, Two WaysAnd I mean, after making palmiers from scratch, you sort of do.
Palmiers, Two Ways

Palmiers, Two WaysPalmiers, Two WaysPalmiers, Two WaysSpinach Artichoke Palmiers {Elephant Ears}
makes about 1.5 dozen small pastries

Rough Puff Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

For the palmiers:
1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water
5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 tablespoons mayonnaise 
1 cup grated Parmesan or grana padano cheese, divided
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3-4 tablespoons milk

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Make the palmiers. Line a plate with paper towels. Drain artichoke hearts and transfer to a cutting board. Blog with paper towels. Slice them in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Place thawed chopped spinach in the center of a clean hand towel. Working over a bowl or sink, gather the edges of the towel and wring out all the excess water from the spinach. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Spread mayonnaise onto the dough, leaving a thin border on the edges. Scatter artichoke hearts and spinach over the top, followed by 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and a few grinds of black pepper. Working with one side at a time, tightly roll the two long sides of the dough toward each other until they meet in the middle. Carefully wrap the long tube of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed quarter-sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment.

Remove filled dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and transfer to a cutting board. Blocking the end with your fingers or a bench scraper (so no filling gets out), use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the dough in 1/2-inch slices and place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared pan. Brush with milk and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 10 minutes. Flip palmiers with a spatula, brush with more milk and sprinkle with more Parmesan. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes on the pan on a rack before removing to a serving plate. Palmiers are best the day they are made.

Pumpkin Palmiers {Elephant Ears}
makes about 1.5 dozen small pastries

Rough Puff Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

For the palmiers:
1/2 cup pure pumpkin purée
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (I used turbinado)

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Make the palmiers. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together pumpkin purée, light brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Brush dough with butter. Spread pumpkin filling onto the dough, leaving a thin border on the edges. Working with one side at a time, tightly roll the two long sides of the dough toward each other until they meet in the middle. Carefully wrap the long tube of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed quarter-sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment.

Remove filled dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and transfer to a cutting board. Blocking the end with your fingers or a bench scraper (so no filling gets out), use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the dough in 1/2-inch slices and place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared pan. Brush with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake 10 minutes. Flip palmiers with a spatula, brush with more milk and sprinkle with more coarse sugar. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes on the pan on a rack before removing to a serving plate. Palmiers are best the day they are made.

Chocolate Buttermilk Pie

Chocolate Buttermilk PieThe first time I made this Chocolate Buttermilk Pie, it cracked down the middle just minutes after it came out of the oven. I have a history of making ugly pies (my motor skills leave something to be desired), but a giant crescent-shaped crater was a little much, even for me.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieOnce that pie cooled though, I cut a sliver for myself and promptly fell in love. What’s not to love about soft, fudgy chocolate filling baked into a flaky pie crust?! Nevertheless, I couldn’t post a cracked pie on here and expect any of you to come back ever again. Lucky for you, I have plenty of pie dough in my fridge this time of year and entirely too much time on my hands 😉

Chocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieSo, how do I get my Chocolate Buttermilk Pies to stay in one piece? Well, it’s actually really easy. 

Chocolate Buttermilk PieIt all starts with room temperature ingredients. I recommend using room temperature ingredients in many of the recipes on this site, but it’s especially important in custard pies like this one. Cold ingredients just don’t incorporate and bake the way their room temperature counterparts do.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieEggs, in particular, should almost always be room temperature. They provide tons of structure in baking–in this recipe, they do nearly all the heavy lifting! I bring my eggs to room temperature by letting them sit in a bowl of hot tap water for five minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieThe buttermilk needs to be room temperature, too. You can measure it out and let it sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes, or you can speed up the process by microwaving it in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until it no longer feels cold to the touch.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieMix your room temperature eggs and buttermilk together with some vanilla and a tiny bit of flour. Whisk that into a chocolaty combination of cocoa, sugar, butter, and salt that’s been bloomed* together on the stove.

*Note: for more on blooming, click here.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieRoll out a (chilled! Not room temperature!) pie crust and fit it in a pie plate. Crimp the edges and dock it with a fork before pouring in the filling. Bake it on the bottom rack of a 375F oven for 50 minutes, until puffed at the edges.

Turn off the oven, crack the door open, and let the pie sit for 10-15 minutes. This allows the pie to finish baking and begin cooling without any major changes in temperature. Don’t skip this step! This is the last step in insuring that your pie stays in one piece. Once time is up, let the pie cool on a rack before slicing and serving. Preferably with ice cream.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieI know Pumpkin Pie is king this time of year, but this Chocolate Buttermilk Pie just might steal the spotlight at your Thanksgiving celebration! I’ve given slices of this pie to fifteen of my friends and every last one of them wanted more. All that’s to say, you might need to make two of these.Chocolate Buttermilk Pie

Looking for more pie? Check out my Salted Butterscotch Pie, Maple Pecan Pie, and Cranberry Crumb Pie! Oh, and this Maple Pear Tart 🍁🍐💙

Chocolate Buttermilk Pie
makes one 9-inch pie 

1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough or other good crust
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 large eggs, room temperature 
1 cup buttermilk 
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Roll out the pie dough, and fit it in the pan. Cut it to 1/2-inch of overhang, then fold the excess under and crimp. Dock the bottom of the crust with a fork. Place the prepared crust in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Position a rack in the bottom third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 375F.

Combine butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, remove from heat–mixture will be thick and grainy. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add buttermilk and vanilla, followed by flour. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture in two installments, whisking until combined. 

Place prepared crust on Pour filling into prepared crust.

To make egg wash, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Paint egg wash over any exposed crust.

Bake 45-50 minutes, or until filling is puffed at the edges. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly. Let pie sit in oven for 10-15 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. 

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Pie may be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. Pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five days.Chocolate Buttermilk Pie

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}This year will be an unusual Thanksgiving for my family. Not only will all of us be together over the holiday, but we’re also going to be home in Fort Worth and we’re going to make the big meal ourselves. I honestly can’t remember the last time we did all that–I think I was eleven!

Since we’ll be cooking in my mom’s kitchen, she’s the lady in charge. So far, she’s requested a Butterscotch Cream Pie. Other than that, nothing’s set in stone.* None of us are particularly fond of turkey, so we’re not married to the traditional meal.

Note: I mean, there will be Artichoke Dip. It’s not the holidays without Artichoke Dip.

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Now, I can live without the traditional sweet potatoes, the cranberry sauce, and even the rolls. I generally don’t care for gravy, so that’s no biggie. But stuffing…well, it’s my lone non-negotiable side dish. 

I’ve already got a great stuffing recipe in the archives–the base is homemade cream biscuits! I love that recipe, but I’m going in a different direction this year. My little sister has cut gluten out of her diet over the past several months, so this year, I’m using my accidentally-gluten-free Southern-Style Cornbread as the base, and doctoring it up with apples and fennel. So freaking good, y’all.

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Cornbread Stuffing with Apple & Fennel might be my new favorite Thanksgiving side. The southern cornbread makes for a super savory base, but the pops of sweetness from the apples and fennel keep it interesting. Adding to the flavor are all the aromatics (celery, onion, garlic) and herbs (parsley, sage, thyme) you’d expect in a stuffing, plus some vegetable stock. Oh, and butter–a whole stick. It’s holiday food, not everyday food.

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}My grandmother (the one with the biscuits and Lemon Meringue Pie) made a cornbread dressing that was so dense and moist that it could be sliced into squares. (It also had hard-boiled eggs in it. 😬😫😑) This recipe has very little in common with hers. While it’s definitely moist and buttery, this stuffing cannot be sliced and requires a serving spoon. 

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}With Thanksgiving just fifteen days away, I can’t wait to share this with my family. The cornbread base gives a nod to our Texan heritage, the apples and fennel are seasonal and delicious, and it’s all gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy it. Oh, and it can’t be sliced and stacked like a pyramid on a serving dish, so we’ve got something for which to be thankful.Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}

Cornbread Stuffing with Apple & Fennel {Gluten-Free}
makes 8 servings

Southern-Style Cornbread:
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon bacon fat (or neutral-flavored oil)

Preheat oven to 425F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combine buttermilk and egg in a measuring cup. Whisk together with a fork. Fold into dry ingredients. Fold in melted butter.

Heat an 8- or 9-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat for at least 3 minutes. Add bacon fat and coat. Add cornbread batter. Cook for one minute before transferring to the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

For the stuffing:
1 recipe Southern-Style Cornbread, cut into cubes, stale
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1 medium white onion, small diced
2-3 stalks celery, small diced
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and small diced
2 large baking apples, peeled and small diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2-2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
1/2-3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Remove cornbread from the pan and slice into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread cubes onto a dry sheet pan and let sit uncovered overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9×13-inch casserole. Set aside.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, fennel, apples, and garlic, and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add sage, thyme, and parsley and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Pour in 1 cup of vegetable broth and turn the heat up to medium high. Once liquid comes to a simmer, remove pan from heat.

Transfer dry cornbread cubes to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the vegetable mixture and mix until combined. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter and add to the stuffing. Fold in an additional 1-1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, depending on your taste.

Cover pan with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Cornbread Stuffing with Apple & Fennel {Gluten-Free}