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You can’t get more New England than Johnny cakes. They’re a real weekend breakfast treat.
Johnny Cakes Are Pure New England
Even though there’s a Jamaican version of Johnny cakes which are something unto themselves, this version is a New England staple.
Johnny cakes are a substantial pancake that many find reminiscent of cornbread. They are in a way and then again, they are not. This version has a texture somewhat like cornbread, but I don’t think they taste similar in any way.
There are many different versions of the same thing, but this is the basic recipe for the New England style cakes.
Traditionally, white cornmeal is used. I always have yellow on hand so I use that. It really doesn’t make any difference unless you don’t wish to have the yellowish color in the pancakes. As always, use what you have or what’s available.
Because cornmeal must hydrate not to be gritty, the batter has to stand for about 10 minutes and hot milk has to be used. I make mine with milk and butter. However, there are other ways to do this and I even found one recipe that uses bacon fat in place of butter. Whilst I love bacon, I don’t think that flavor in Johnny cakes would send me. But again, it’s up to what your tastes are so proceed with that.
Enjoy Like Pancakes
Johnny cakes are enjoyed just like regular pancakes with butter and maple syrup or the syrup of your choice.
One caveat is they take a bit longer to cook that regular buttermilk pancakes. They will take about 10 minutes and should be flipped when they are brown on one side. For this I use the griddle that came with my stove and I use medium heat. They can be done in a large cast iron frying pan and personally, I think that’s the best way. However, with the skillet you will have to cook in batches. An investment in a cast iron double burner griddle would be a good choice for this.
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 tbs sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg beaten
- Butter for griddle
- Place milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat until it simmers. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk this together so it's well mixed.
- Add the milk mixture and whisk until it's well combined then whisk in the egg. Let this stand for 10 minutes.
- Heat a large non-stick pan or griddle over medium heat. Add a pat of butter to grease the griddle.
- Drop about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the pan and swirl with the back of a spoon to make a round "pancake" about 3-inches7.5 cm wide.
- Cook about 10 minutes total flipping when one side is brown.
- Serve with butter and maple syrup.