Sometimes I am struck by how fast life seems to be flying by.
I was e-mailing with one of my oldest best friends yesterday and we were reminiscing about horrible middle school times we’d had together. That time some guy called us and our other best friend lesbians (we are not). Our anxiety surviving seven periods of high school, enduring high school P.E., worrying about whether we would get into college, wondering what college would be like. (I seem to recall my going away gift from said best friend was this book. Let me tell you, it set up alllll the wrong expectations.)
I’m making it sound like we did a lot of worrying. There were fun times too. But all the memories came flooding in a rush and I had to take a step back and be like, “really? I already graduated from college? Is this real life?”
Other times, I’m struck by cravings for cornbread. Like really, struck into a state of near paralysis, thinking, should I? Do I really dare make an entire loaf of cornbread right now to gratify myself? Because I cannot make half a batch, or even a cute little single serving muffin of cornbread. Because corn muffins are great once in a while, but I really like the thick chunky chunks of cornbread. You have to make that in a pan. And I only own large pans so I can’t make half a batch or my cornbread will be all thin and crackery crispy and blah. If I want crackers, I’ll make crackers.
So I decided to feed two cravings with one urge. Cornbread pancakes!
Easy to whip up, easy to cook, easy to eat. No oven required.
I like my pancakes cakey, but I like my cornbread gritty and full of cornmeal. In theory, my ideal cornbread would be ALL. CORNMEAL. No flour. In practice, it’s kind of gross. I’ve tried it. But still, I like at least a half and half ratio of cornmeal to flour.
These pancakes meet this requirement. They’re…I can’t believe I’m saying this…a little spongy. All that cornmeal makes these full of grit and texture, but also airy and fluffy, so there’s a slight resiliency when you bite down. Yes, my ideal cornbread pancakes might be so tender and so soft that when you dig your fork in, it crumbles, but these TASTE like excellent cornbread. And that’s the important part.
Plus, these are totally sturdy enough to eat alongside some fierce chili. Cassie mentioned how one of her taste-testers suggested dipping her crunchy crackly corn cookies in chili and if you can do that with cookies, you can most definitely do that with pancakes.
Especially delicious, golden, sturdy, slightly springy pancakes that taste like cornbread.
PS. If you are like me and generally like your pancakes plain, keep in mind this cute text from my boyfriend:
“Just had pancakes for lunch :)).. [They were] A-mazing!! They seemed even better than when I had them this morning, just the tiny bit of honey that was in there made them irresistible :)”
There you have it. If anything ever needed to be eaten with honey butter, this would be it. They will be irresistible.
From now on, I’m soaking all my cornmeal before baking. It was a tip I learned to make what is now my favorite from-scratch cornbread and I think it makes everything better–just a little silkier and more tender.
If you like your pancakes thinner (and perhaps want to make 12 instead of the odd 10 + a little leftover runt pancake that I made), add an extra 1/4 cup of milk or buttermilk.
I used part AP flour and part white whole wheat mainly because I didn’t want to use the yellow hue, but I think all white whole wheat or even part whole wheat would be great. If you are making these for a savory occasion (i.e. to accompany this chili), you can try leaving out half the sugar.
Cornbread in pancake form! I soak the cornmeal a bit before I make the rest of the batter to help reduce the grittiness of the final product, although there's still plenty of grit and texture in these airy, flavorful cakes. Honey + butter are topping musts.
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup buttermilk (or make your own using 1 cup milk of your choice + 1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (can use white whole wheat)
- 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Oil, for greasing the pan
Combine the cornmeal and buttermilk and let sit for at least 15 minutes.
Set a large, greased frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Combine other dry ingredients and gently fold into cornmeal mixture, leaving it as lumpy as possible with no floury bits. Whisk in the egg and melted butter, again leaving it lumpy.
Ladle the batter into the pan 1/4 cup at a time. Pancakes should cook fairly quickly after the first round.
Want more (corn)bread?