Thursday, January 29, 2015

Johnny Cakes

Updated below: Johnny cakes or Journey cakes as they were originally called are a quick and easy way to add some novelty and good taste to a meal. That's especially true for a nice winter meal of beans, chili or vegetable soup. They are super easy. All you need is some corn meal, salt, milk, butter and a griddle or big fry pan. Actually, you don't even need the fry pan as another name for them is "hoe cakes" as you can use the back of your hoe to cook them over an open fire whilst working in the field,

The following basic recipe will make about 16 cakes but you can easily double or triple it for making a bunch and since there is no leavening you can make the batter a day or two in advance and likewise keep extra for a couple days.

Johnny or Journey or Hoe cakes

1/4 cup butter (if you use salted butter cut back a wee bit on the salt)
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup plain cornmeal ( I like yellow but white
is fine just make sure it is NOT self rising)
1 1/2 Tsp salt
3/4 cup boiling water

In a small pan (or in the microwave) heat the butter and milk until the butter melts and set aside.
In a medium bowl mix together the cornmeal, salt. stir in the water, mixing well then add the milk/butter.
Using a quarter cup measure cook the cakes on a medium hot griddle or fry pan(or hoe). If the pan is the right temperature it should take about 3 minutes until the edges start to brown. Flip and cook on the other side about a minute more. These are best served hot.

You can fancy these up with some tasty additions to the batter. Try some green onion or chopped hot pepper. Minced shallots or garlic is nice. Use your imagination. A little sorghum, molasses or honey isn't a bad idea either.

Update: I should have mentioned that you want a batter that will flow a bit like pancake batter. If it is too thick add a little more boiling water (this is especially true if the batter sits for a while). Too thin add a little more cornmeal.  If you have to spread the batter out manually on the pan then you need to thin it a bit.

I should also note that I add a tablespoon of Bob's Red Mill Polenta to the mixture to create a little more texture.
one more thing...I only got 12 cakes out of this recipe last night. That's enough for the two of us but you should probably go for the full batch if there are more than two.

Image from Country

1 comment:

Steve Bates said...

My paternal grandmother was named Johnnie, and yes, she did occasionally make cakes like these. I wish I had a handful of 'em right now! Lacking that, maybe I'll make some tomorrow... from your recipe, Monk, because I don't have Grandma's, because she never wrote anything down or measured anything.