Cornmeal Johnnycakes

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When I woke up Sunday morning, it was cold and rainy. I did not sign up for cold and rainy in August when I moved from Nebraska to Virginia. To be clear: I signed up for unbearably hot and humid summers that creep mercilessly into late September.

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Anyway, when I woke up and it was cold and rainy, I wanted to go back to bed. But going back to sleep isn’t an option on Sundays: I teach a 9am BODYPUMP class, and rain or shine, there will be a group of folks waiting for me to be all chipper and hard-core and beast out some push-ups.

At home later that morning, I decided the antidote to 60-degree weather in August was a hoodie and a big breakfast.  Surveying my  pantry and refrigerator contents, I opted for johnnycakes — essentially a cross between a corn muffin and a pancake — with a drizzle of real maple syrup, pork sausage patties and a couple of eggs over-easy. I first found this recipe in a Williams-Sonoma catalog years ago, and I like the flavor and texture the blackberries and toasted pecans add.

It didn’t make the rain go away, but it was a nice precursor to my afternoon nap. :)

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Cornmeal Johnnycakes

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Makes 12 cakes (serves about 4)

3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3/4 cup fine-ground yellow cornmeal
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
3/4 cup sliced blackberries

In a large bowl, stir together first five ingredients; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm milk until small bubble form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise; remove from heat.

Put cornmeal in a medium bowl. Add milk and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in butter and eggs. Stir cornmeal mixture into flour until thoroughly combined. Let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Butter, grease, or spray a griddle or large fry pan. Heat over medium heat. Pour batter in scant 1/4-cup measures; sprinkle each circle with pecans and a few slices blackberry. Cook until golden and puffy, 1-2 minutes. Flip cakes; cook until golden, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately with fresh blackberries, blackberry syrup or compote, or maple syrup.

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