Cooking with Maseca Corn Flour

Eating gluten free can be expensive. Not only do we need to make sure that we're eating gluten free grains, but we also have to take steps to make sure the products we buy aren't cross-contaminated. This is why third party certification, like the GFCO program, is so important.

So the other day I was at Kroger, checking out the clearance section (like you do) and noticed this big bag of Maseca corn flour. It was a 4.4 lb bag for $1.39, which was a great deal. But I also thought about what I learned at the celiac conference at Columbus Children's hospital that you have to be SO careful when buying grains, because they can be HIGHLY contaminated. So I started to walk away.

And then I saw the GFCO label. You know, the GF inside of a circle? And I thought, for $1.39, I can try to think of things to make with it.

So when I went home I Googled recipes made with corn flour, and the Maseca website popped up. They have a HUGE database of recipes, and not just things that are Mexican. First thing we tried....pancakes

That's right, pancakes made with corn flour. At first you'd think they would taste funny, but this flour is ground so fine that it doesn't have a strong corn taste. And let me tell you, we've made these pancakes at least 4 times now. I do dramatically cut down the sugar that they call for, or otherwise these pancakes taste mote like cookies than breakfast food. I also subbed 1/4 cup of liquid egg whites for one egg, to cut down on the fat and cholesterol. They are a little thick using their recipe (and I DO suggest using their recipe), so I often thin mine down with a bit of water, and use the back of my measuring cup to spread out the batter after I've put it on my griddle.

Next strange but true thing I made with the corn flour was Banana Bread. Yep, you read right- banana bread made with corn flour. Their recipe calls for a mix of corn flour and rice flour, therefore making this recipe naturally gluten free. Again, the recipe called for way more butter, eggs and sugar than I want to consume, so I subbed some applesauce for the butter, egg whites for some of the eggs, and cut back a bit on the sugar.

That may have been a mistake. The bread was so moist that it took WAY longer to bake than it said on the recipe. And by the way, this recipe makes like 3 BIG loaves of bread. I think I might try this again later, without all the substitutions, and cut the ingredients by a third.

I did gift a loaf to a friend at church in return for the venison they gave us. I shared a loaf at Sunday School, and everyone thought it was great. I sent three additional pieces home with my pastor. His oldest daughter at ALL 3 pieces.... by herself. At least that means it tastes good!

The first actual "Mexican" food we made were Huaraches. We had spent the day with my parents at Eastern Market in Detroit, and came back tired and hungry. My husband found this recipe on the Maseca website and got to work. Dinner turned out great and we were all well fed.

Last, but definitely not least, we made homemade Tortillas. The tortilla recipe is right on the bag, which is super handy. The first time I tried to make them, I rolled out the dough with a roller. It was  a little tricky and definitely not thin or perfectly round like a regular tortilla.

So I started looking for a tortilla press. I looked at Bed Bath and Beyond, and they were all out. I looked at other dice. So when we stopped at Mexico at the Market, which is located inside the Flint Farmer's Market. As I was buying some vanilla, I asked the owner where I could buy a tortilla press. He said, 'You mean like the ones up here on my shelf....that I have for sale?" Score! $20 bucks later I already had visions of tortillas in my head.

So I tried tortillas again, using my new press, and it was so fast and easy. I had to flour the wax paper because the pressed tortillas were still sticking to it. They were a bit smaller than I wanted, so next time I'm going to either 1) use more dough or 2) let my husband make them, because they still weren't quite as thin as I would have liked. Or maybe I'll do both options. :)

So if you're celiac and want to try something new and exciting, get a bag of Maseca corn flour and get cooking. Make sure to look around their website to get tons of ideas of how you can use it. I think empanadas are next on my list!