Several years ago, I made a batch of cornmeal pancakes. It was the first time I’d ever tasted them, and I was *beyond* excited to make them. I really built them up in my head. I mean, it’s cornbread meets pancakes!! How could that not be awesome? I looooove cornbread and I looooove pancakes, and this is a dish that marries them. It’s almost too much!
So upon sitting down to the table, a tall stack of cornmeal pancakes heaped on my plate with maple syrup dripping down the sides, I was expecting to be blown away. Essentially, I was anticipating a complete and total food-gasm.
Let’s just say I had to fake it.
They were so disappointing. Mealy, flavorless, bitter tasting cakes that went straight into the trash. I felt so deflated. I’m still not sure what went wrong, but suffice it to say they scared me off from cornmeal pancakes for quite awhile.
I’m so happy I gave them another chance to redeem themselves. And who are we kidding, the first ones turning out badly could easily have been my fault. Who knows. But these were everything I wanted them to be. Light and fluffy, sweet and savory, with that wonderful awesome cornbread flavor. The cranberry butter didn’t hurt anything either. And it was such a beautiful pink color!
The cranberry butter makes them somewhat holiday-ish, but you could make the cornmeal pancake recipe any time of the year. You could add a different type of compound butter, or just adorn them with plain butter and maple syrup – they would still be delicious that way! Make these soon and enjoy them.
Source: slightly adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, November 2008
1 stick softened unsalted butter, plus 3 tbs melted butter, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
3 tbs pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg
In a food processor, pulse the stick of softened butter with the cranberries, maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt until combined. Scrape into a bowl and set aside in a not too warm place.
In a bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and remaining 1 tsp salt. Whisk in the milk, egg, and melted butter.
Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over moderate heat and brush with butter. Ladle in about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook until just beginning to set, about 2 minutes or so. Flip the pancake and finish cooking the other side, 1-2 minutes. Adjust your heat as necessary; you want the pancakes browned but definitely not burned.
Transfer the pancakes to plates and spread a dollop of the compound butter on each hot pancake. Drizzle with extra maple syrup if desired.