Johnny Cakes are a true early American classic! If you've never heard of them, they are essentially a cornmeal flatbread, but as with many ancient food items, these are made differently depending on the region/ culture. Popular during the Civil War, Johnny Cakes were a staple food due to the abundance and affordability of cornmeal, (especially in the South.) But, it was the Native Americans that introduced corn to the early settlers, along with their recipes/ methods for using this crop.
Although Johnny Cakes are traditionally made with white or yellow corn meal, I've put my own spin on this old favorite by using the rare blue cornmeal! It's a bit higher in protein content compared to the yellow and white variety, and the flavor is slightly sweeter and a bit nuttier. I've added in some applesauce to add some natural sweetness and extra flavor, and this is a recipe that can be served as a breakfast, or even dinner! (I've made this same recipe and served a fabulous whiskey peach glazed pork tenderloin on top of these Johnny Cakes- so good!)
These are by no means a "fluffy" traditional hot cake. They are denser, thinner, and clearly have a grittier texture, but they sure make a healthy treat for breakfast served like this! Plus, these are entirely gluten-free!
Whether you enjoy them the traditional way- with some butter and fresh maple syrup or honey. Or, try the fresh berry and lavender syrup below. They are also excellent for lunch or dinner underneath some grilled salmon, chicken, or pork.....the possibilities are simply endless!
Yield: 15-18 Johnny Cakes
Blue Johnny Cakes:
1 1/2 cup Blue Cornmeal **I used Bob's Red Mill
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup applesauce
Top with: maple syrup, butter, honey, fresh fruit, bacon, etc.
1) In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients, and stir together. Add the boiling water, and mix well. Add the milk, applesauce, and whisk in the egg.
2) In a very hot, seasoned cast iron skillet, (or griddle, or flat top- lightly oiled), begin ladling the batter. Cook each side for about 2-3 minutes, (the edges will darken when they are ready to flip), flip the cakes, and cook the other side. Transfer to a platter. Serve these hot!
****They can also be refrigerated and re-heated for later use as well!
Berry & Lavender Syrup:
1 pint of whatever berries you have on hand! (I used a combination of blueberries & blackberries)
pinch of dried lavender (found in your spice isle)
**1/4- 1/2 cup of water
1) Simply place the whole berries, some honey (about 2-3 T), and lavender in a small pot on medium heat. Stir together, and simply cook down, adding the water to thin if necessary. When the mixture looks to have the desired consistency, remove from heat, strain into a bowl, and pour over your Johnny Cakes, waffles, etc.
***Store in a sterile mason jar for future use in the refrigerator. Lasts 2-4 weeks.
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