Since I'm not even halfway through all my baking books for my baking challenge, you'd think the last thing I need is a new baking book, right? I've been checking out other foodie blogs and a few made mention of this baking book along with posting some scrumptious looking pictures of what they'd made from it. Plus they all raved about this book. So it becomes yet one more baking book I want to have as (of course) my inner Gollum says, "Oooh, shiny object!" Bald-headed beast. Fortunately, my local library came to my rescue and I was able to borrow this book instead of buying it.
A first run through of the book suggests I may want to eventually add it to my collection (shut up, Gollum) as it contains some mouth-watering recipes that look awesome to make. But for now, I'm okay with having it in my greedy possession only for the next 3 weeks. Of all the recipes in this book, surprisingly, I chose to try a relatively humble one for Cornmeal Griddle Cakes. It's not a recipe I see everyday and, more importantly, it calls for more of the buttermilk I need to use up shortly. I was also thinking, with Easter Sunday a little over a week away, it seems to call for exploration of brunch options. Nothing like springtime brunch on Easter Sunday. Not to mention I love breakfast for dinner which is what I had when I made these.
The term "griddle cakes" always reminds me of Little House on the Prairie and Ma frying them on an iron spider over hot coals while Pa set up camp and Laura and Mary played in the prairie grass. Can you tell I loved reading those books when I was a kid and practically had them memorized? As an adult, I replaced my worn, well-thumbed, dog-eared paperback versions of the books with more durable hardbacks. And I admit to rereading them every once in awhile.
In any case, those griddle cakes just sounded delicious. This version is probably a far cry from Caroline Ingalls' though. For one thing, they were lighter and fluffier than I expected from something that had cornmeal in it. Probably from the chemical leavening which she wouldn't have had. They also weren't very sweet (which may be more true to the Little House version). These are pretty much pancakes. They were fairly good although I think they're optimally served hot with melting butter slathered over them or with warm syrup if you want something more sweet. I only had one but wrapped the rest up individually and deposited them in my freezer for future breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Cook them long enough for the top to get crunchy and try to make them small if you do serve them for a brunch so your guests don't get too full from 1 griddle cake.
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter for the skillet
1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
2. Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil. Place the cornmeal in a large bowl. Stirring continuously, slowly pour the boiling water over the cornmeal. Keep stirring until the mixture has cooled to lukewarm, almost to room temperature. Add the brown sugar and stir until combined.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until pale yellow. Add the buttermilk and whisk until blended. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, to the cornmeal in three parts (beginning and ending with the flour mixture), stirring after each addition until just combined. Stir in the melted butter.
4. Heat a skillet or griddle pan over medium-low heat.
5. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and make sure it coats the surface. Drop griddle cakes in ¼-cup batches into the skillet (they will spread – do not crowd the pan). Cook until the bottoms are medium-brown, about 3 minutes, and the tops are bubbly, then flip the griddle cakes over and cook the other side for about 2 minutes and serve immediately. Continue cooking and serving until all the batter is gone. Serve with generous amounts of sweet butter.