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Cornmeal Hoecakes

Cornmeal Hoecakes

Bob’s Red Mill makes a coarse cornmeal that’s perfect for these, but don’t stress if you can’t find it. A finer grind will just have less crunch.

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup coarse-grind cornmeal
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted; plus 2 teaspoons room temperature
  • Sour cream and sliced scallions (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, kosher salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, egg white, and milk in another medium bowl to combine. Mix egg mixture into cornmeal mixture just to incorporate, then stir in melted butter.

  • Heat 1 tsp. butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium, swirling pan to coat bottom. Spoon in half of batter and cook until bubbles appear on top, about 3 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until hoecake is set, about 3 minutes. Return skillet to stovetop, turn cake over with a spatula, and cook over medium heat until cake feels firm when pressed, about 2 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and repeat process with remaining batter and 1 tsp. butter to make a second cake.

  • Serve hoecakes topped with sour cream and scallions and sprinkled with sea salt.

Recipe by Barrel & Ashes, Studio City, CA,

Nutritional Content

For 12 servings: Calories (kcal) 130 Fat (g) 5 Saturated Fat (g) 3 Cholesterol (mg) 30 Carbohydrates (g) 16 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 3 Protein (g) 3 Sodium (mg) 230Reviews SectionI'm always drawn to corn meal. It's my southern comfort. I made a thinner cake and a thicker cake. The thicker cake had a better consistency. Leave it on the stove at the beginning for 1-2 more minutes, and the rest of the timing is fine. The thicker cake got the crispness I was looking for. I opted to oil my pan with bacon fat; it's pure gold to me in the kitchen. Served my cakes with a salad consisting of a base of cilantro, topped with a dollop of ricotta cheese and your choice of hot sauce :DAnonymousCincinnati, OH02/02/19

Hoecakes are one of those dishes that many non-Southerners have never heard of. You may have heard their other name — johnnycakes. But some folks think a johnnycake is just a regular flour pancake.

So let’s get to the basics. Picture a pancake. Now picture it a little crispier with a yummy cornbread taste. Sounds good, right? It is!

Indigenous peoples of the the US used lots of ground corn for cooking. They are credited with teaching the European colonists of the South how to make johnnycakes, as well as other cornmeal dishes like cornbread and grits. These foods became popular soul food dishes that have remained Southern cuisine staples to this day.


Hoecakes (fried cornbread)

My grandmother used to make these little cornbread cakes for us, and I love to make them for my grandchildren too. People outside Savannah know them as hoecakes, but we just call them fried cornbread. Whatever name you use, you can’t go wrong with them—everyone loves them, and they’re so easy. They’re great as pancakes for breakfast with a little cane syrup drizzled over them, or alongside a mess of greens, or as an alternative to cornbread or biscuits with lunch or dinner. They have a nice crisp crust on the outside and a soft, sweet corn flavor inside.

I like white cornmeal better than yellow for grits or cornbread, and for just about anything. To me, yellow cornmeal and yellow grits have a texture that’s a little too grainy. The yellow also takes longer to cook—a lot of people don’t know that.

If you saved the flavorful frying grease from making fried chicken, you’ll be glad you did when you add a spoonful to this batter.

This recipe makes a small batch. Double or triple it if you need to feed a big family or a lot of friends. The batter will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.

Excerpted from A Real Southern Cook in Her Savannah Kitchen, © 2015 by Dora Charles. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


Recipe Summary

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs and butter in a separate large bowl. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry mixture until blended and smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter on griddle and cook until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute. Continue with remaining batter.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup coarse-grind cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted plus 2 teaspoons room temperature
  • Sour cream and sliced scallions (for serving)
  • Flaky sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, kosher salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, egg white, and milk in another medium bowl to combine. Mix egg mixture into cornmeal mixture just to incorporate, then stir in melted butter.
  2. Heat 1 tsp. butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium, swirling pan to coat bottom. Spoon in half of batter and cook until bubbles appear on top, about 3 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until hoecake is set, about 3 minutes. Return skillet to stovetop, turn cake over with a spatula, and cook over medium heat until cake feels firm when pressed, about 2 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and repeat process with remaining batter and 1 tsp. butter to make a second cake.
  3. Serve hoecakes topped with sour cream and scallions and sprinkled with sea salt.

Recipe by Barrel & Ashes, Studio City, CA/Bon Appétit. Photos by Alex Lau


Preparation

Step 1

Heat a tablespoon of oil and a 1/2 tablespoon of butter together in a skillet over medium heat. Spoon cornbread batter by tablespoons (3-4 inches round) into the skillet, leaving a little space between them. Cook until they start to get little bubbles around the edges and bottom is browned. Carefully, flip hoecakes over with an egg turner and brown the other side. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat process with remaining batter. Serve immediately.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons corn oil, plus more if needed
  • Unsalted butter, for serving
  • Honey, for serving

Stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add buttermilk, eggs, and 4 tablespoons oil whisk until smooth.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add remaining tablespoon oil swirl to coat, and heat until a drop of batter sizzles upon contact. Working in batches, pour 1/3 cup batter per cake into skillet. Cook, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Repeat with remaining batter (add more oil if needed, and reduce heat if sides brown too quickly). Serve immediately, topped with butter and honey.


Southern Cornmeal Hoecakes

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Measure out the buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup, and add to that the water and oil blend well. Add eggs and mix well combine with dry ingredients. Heat oil and butter in a cast iron skillet over medium to medium high and drop batter by about 1/8 cup measures into the hot skillet to form small medallions.

2. Fry until brown and crisp, turn and brown the other side. Remove and let drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with warm syrup for breakfast or as a snack, or dip 'em in a mess o' greens to sop up that pot likker (juice from the greens)!

3. Variation: When corn is at peak and in-season, add about 1 cup of corn cut and scraped off the cob. You'll need about 1 large ear of corn. Can also make this into a pan hoecake. Add only enough buttermilk to make a stiff batter. You may not need the additional water. Pour into a screaming hot, well greased 8-inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Reduce heat and let brown underneath about 10 - 15 minutes. Run a metal egg turner underneath and turn to brown the other side. Can also bake in a well preheated 425 degree F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes (no turning needed).

4. Tip: If you spray the measuring cup with a bit of non-stick spray before scooping, the batter will slip right out. If you don't happen to have that 1/8 cup measure, just do about 2 tablespoons of batter in one pile and push it around to form a medallion.


Hoecakes

Family members and visitors alike testified that hoecakes were among George Washington&rsquos favorite foods. He invariably ate them at breakfast, covered with butter and honey, along with hot tea&mdasha &ldquotemperate repast&rdquo enjoyed each morning.

Years after Washington&rsquos death, Nelly Custis Lewis described her method for preparing a yeast-risen version of hoecakes in a letter to her close friend Elizabeth Bordley Gibson. &ldquoMake it by candlelight,&rdquo she wrote, &ldquo& let it remain [by a warm hearth] until the next morning.&rdquo Describing the baking method, she wrote: &ldquo[D]rop [the batter] a spoonful at a time on a hoe or griddle (as we say in the South). When done on one side turn the other&mdashthe griddle must be rubbed . . . with a piece of beef suet.&rdquo

This recipe is a modern adaptation of the 18th-century original. It was created by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons.

Ingredients

Directions

    Mix the yeast and 1 1/4 cups of the cornmeal in a large bowl. Add 1 cup of the lukewarm water, stirring to combine thoroughly. Mix in 1/2 cup more of the water, if needed, to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.