Cornmeal Johnnycakes


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.


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. :)


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.

Pumpkin Pancakes

I’m declaring today the Pumpkin Trifecta.That’s right: one day, three amazing recipes. Pumpkin is my favorite thing about fall, and I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate it into my diet.

Let’s start with breakfast: pumpkin pancakes. Simple, quick, and great with eggs, bacon, sausage, or just on their own. Pancakes also keep well, so one batch sets me up for several breakfasts for the week.

I’ve played around with several different recipes and settled on this amalgamation. It has a fair amount of pumpkin, and it’s not too sweet so the spices shine through. Serve it with a touch of real maple syrup, or a little butter and cinnamon.

P.S. No, I didn’t eat all of this. It’s not that I didn’t want to… but I had two more pumpkin recipes to tackle. :)

Pumpkin Pancakes

Adapted from several sources

Yield: about 15 pancakes

1 1/4 c flour

1/4 c brown sugar

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp salt

1 c whole milk

3/4 c canned pumpkin

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  In a medium bowl, whisk milk, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla to blend well.  Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just until smooth (batter will be thick).

Heat a pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Brush surface with butter or oil, or use cooking spray. Pour batter in 1/4-cup portions onto hot surface. Cook until bubbles form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 1 minute per side.  Flip over and cook for another 30 seconds or until they are cooked and nicely browned.  Repeat with the remaining batter.