Gluten Free Buttermilk Cornbread

My go-to cornbread recipe uses all cornmeal without any other flour, but it’s a very grainy texture and sometimes you just want something a little more sumptuous. I’ve found replacing wheat flour with a combination of white rice flour, tapioca flour or starch, and cornstarch, produces a consistently good product. If you want to use plain wheat flour, just replace the combination with a half cup of wheat flour. This recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker’s Southern Buttermilk Cornbread. I like honey in my cornbread so I also replaced the white sugar with honey and increased it just a touch. For a real treat, make some honey butter to slather on slices of the bread, recipe below, you’ll be glad you did!

Gluten Free Buttermilk Cornbread


  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup light olive oil, or other neutral cooking oil 
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk (the higher fat content the better)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (sugar is okay too)
  • 1 ½ cups of cornmeal (I used stone ground yellow)
  • 6 Tablespoons white rice flour
  • 1 Tablespoon tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. (This comes together fast so make sure you do that first.)
  2. Whisk the eggs then whisk in the oil until combined.
  3. Mix in the honey and the buttermilk.
  4. Add the cornmeal and whisk.
  5. Measure the rest of the ingredients and pour on top then whisk them all together.
  6. Pour into a greased or sprayed 8-inch or 9-inch square pan. (Either will work.)
  7. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Slather with butter, or honey butter.
  9. Enjoy!

For honey butter, combine 1 stick of softened unsalted butter, 3 Tablespoons of honey, and a good pinch of sea salt. Beat them together. If they are too cold to combine, microwave on 30% for a minute and beat together. Even if it all gets melted and has to be chilled, it will still taste fabulous.

The Friday Poem: Misplaced Ambition

Misplaced Ambition

Isn’t it strange how you wake up one day
with all these memories inside, and behind, you?
People who’ve influenced your storyline
inhabit space in your mind and take part
in all the stories you tell yourself each day
about what happened and what it means.
Though I’ve a richness of experience
to draw upon, I seem to have misplaced
my forward moving ambition of late.
I’d still like to write literary stories,
marry fantastical plots and prose
that goes with fast-paced action and moments
that thrill, and beauty that can be described.
Draw it all back out, in a silver stream
like a movie film beamed at a screen,
but right now, I just seem to be holding still.

© 2021 Melora Johnson

Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Mushroom FAIL – Sorta

Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe FAIL – Sorta

My friend, author Tarren Young, makes the most AMAZING cheese and bacon stuffed mushrooms for our write-ins at my library. Sadly, we have not been able to have any of our usual summer, November, or midwinter write-ins this year due to Covid. So, I decided to learn to make her mushrooms for myself.

These instructions I received from my *ahem* FRIEND looked simple. Fry up a pound of bacon, add in 8 ounces of cream cheese at room temp along with a good scoop of sour cream and bake in hollowed out mushroom caps for an hour at 375, covered. Add some other shredded cheese if you want. (Also, the original recipe called for baking at 350.)

Okay, the first time I made these, I messed up the directions a bit. I baked them uncovered and only put some foil on the last 15 minutes to keep them from over browning. They tasted really good, but a bit strong on the bacon. I talked to her and she admitted she actually used a lot more sour cream. The measurements were more like 1 to 1 to 1, and she definitely added shredded cheddar cheese.

Okay, that made sense and I tried again. This time they were a bit soupier and I didn’t there was any way she used equal amounts of sour cream and cream cheese.

Third times the charm, right?

Back to the original attempt, add two ounces of shredded cheddar cheese, half the bacon (4 ounces chopped and fried), ¼ cup of sour cream to 8 ounces of cream cheese.

THIS will be perfect!

Baked at 350 for one hour, covered.

After 45 minutes, they were smelling pretty done so I opened them to check. Maybe I’d take the foil off and let them brown a bit.

Soup. That’s what I had. Soup with mushrooms and bacon.

WHERE did I go wrong?

I did notice that when I got the brick of cream cheese out of the fridge, it was a different brand, and pretty darned soft straight out of the fridge.

I’m thinking, next time, back to the original brand of cream cheese, bake at 350 uncovered for 45 minutes, so liquid can evaporate, and stick with the 4 ounces of bacon, 8 ounces of cream cheese, and 2 ounces each of sour cream and cheddar cheese.

I’ll get this right yet!

I will say, each fail, has been delicious.

The Friday Poem: Inauguration 1.20.2021

The Sunday Recipe: Cheese and Golden Raisin Kolaczki

Cheese and Golden Raisin Kolaczki

These are an old family favorite and the most amazing little pastry pockets. I absolutely adore them and they are worth every bit of work. There’s a yeasty hint to the dough, but they are sweet and buttery. You have to start the dough the day ahead. In the end it doesn’t take that much work to put them together though. We treat them as a dessert cookie, but they could be served with a brunch or tea just as well. (Sadly, I did not ask my mom for the secret to sealing the center of the pockets until after I made them so my picture is not the perfect form. My taste testers said they still tasted fantastic!)


  • 2 cups flour
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) butter
  • 1 packet or 2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Powdered sugar (to roll dough out)

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce package 4% large curd cottage cheese
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) golden raisins
  • 1 large egg yolk


  1. Combine the flour and yeast.
  2. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender.
  3. Beat cream and egg yolks together then add to flour/yeast mix.
  4. Combine until it comes together into a dough. (This can most easily be done in a food processor.)
  5. Refrigerate in a covered container overnight.
  6. The next day, bring to room temperature for 3 hours before working with the dough.

Make the Filling

  1. Dump the cottage cheese into a bowl and cover with water then stir.
  2. Drain the cottage cheese in a mesh strainer.
  3. Chop the raisins.
  4. Mash or process all the ingredients together and refrigerate until needed.

To Fill the Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prepare two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease.
  3. Prepare a space to roll out the dough, using powdered sugar to flour the surface.
  4. Divide the dough in half and work with half at a time.
  5. Roll the square of dough out into a rough rectangle and divide into 12.
  6. Roll each small piece out to roughly 3 by 3 inches.
  7. Place a half tablespoon of filling in center.
  8. Fold the corners in and use the tip of a knife to press the corners into the center.
  9. Transfer to baking sheet prepared with parchment.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes.
  11. (Repeat with second half of dough and filling.)
  12. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
  13. Enjoy!!!

The Friday Poem: Clean, Hot, Cotton

The Sunday Recipe: Soft Molasses & Buttermilk Spice Cookies

Soft Molasses & Buttermilk Spice Cookies

This is a recipe from my great, great-grandmother via my mother, with a couple changes of hers, then a couple of mine. This is actually one quarter of the original recipe and makes a nice dozen cookies. I use the same recipe every year to roll out for ginger bread men as well.


  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoons ginger
  • 1 ½ cups flour (wheat or gluten free)


  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Mix in the molasses.
  3. Stir in the buttermilk, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
  4. Measure in the flour and baking soda then stir.
  5. Dump out onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap.
  6. Form into a log and roll up then twist the ends.
  7. Refrigerate for at least an hour. (You can refrigerate overnight, or even freeze for a month or so before using.)
  8. Preheat oven to 350.
  9. Prepare a pan with parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray.
  10. Slice roll of cookie dough into 12 equal portions and lay out on a prepared pan.
  11. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
  12. Cool and enjoy. (Note: the gluten free flour may make them a little drier but they will soften up overnight in a container.)

The Friday Poem: Post Storm

The Sunday Recipe: Buchta Loaves (Polish Nut Roll)

Buchta is a traditional Christmas breakfast in our house, along with oranges or apples and homemade eggnog. We usually make it in one large spiral, this recipe will make two, but I turned the batch of dough into four loaves this year — easier to share that way. Either one works, rising times and baking times are the same. It’s also very easy to halve the dough recipe, make one filling, and get two loaves. Each filling will fill one large round buchta or two loaves. I always make the fillings first.

Ingredients for dough

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter.
  • 2 cups of flour plus 4 cups of flour and some for kneading.
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 packages of active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs


  1. Heat the milk for about a minute and 45 seconds in the microwave to scald. You can also do this on the stove top. You know it’s ready when steaming and a skin forms on the top.
  2. Cut the butter into chunks and melt in the hot milk. (Best if the butter is straight from the fridge. If it isn’t, you may want to let the milk set for five minutes after putting butter in before adding to yeast or it could kill the yeast.)
  3. In a large bowl, sift 2 cups of flour with 2 teaspoons of salt.
  4. Stir in the yeast.
  5. Add the brown sugar and stir in milk/butter mixture using a whisk.
  6. Set aside until bubbles form, about ten minutes.
  7. Beat in 2 eggs and 4 cups of flour.
  8. Mix well then knead for 10 minutes, or about 5 minutes using a dough hook in a stand mixer.
  9. Cover dough and let rise in a warm, draft free location for 1 1/2 hours.
  10. Prepare two cookie sheets or 4 loaf pans with grease/shortening or cooking spray and parchment paper.
  11. Divide into 2 or 4 and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.
  12. Spread with filling and roll up, Try to pinch dough together at seams and end. (It can be hard to do and a little leakage during baking is not abnormal.)
  13. If making large round ones, wrap the roll around one end, like a snail shell.
  14. Rise another 1 1/2 hours.
  15. Bake at 325 for 60 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

Pecan Filling

  • 1/2 pound pecans, picked over for shells and ground or processed
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Just mix to combine and chill to stiffen before spreading on dough.

Cranberry Orange Filling

  • 1/2 cup dried craisins (I used 50% reduced sugar ones.)
  • Orange juice to cover, about 1/2 cup.

Directions: Combine and microwave for one minute. Stir and let sit for 2 hours. Process in blender or food processer until fairly smooth.

The Friday Poem: Strange Dreams That Never (Could) Happen