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Fried Cornbread – Southern Cornmeal Hoecakes

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Fried cornbread, also called “cornmeal hoe cake” and “corn cake”, and sometimes “Johnnycakes”, is a kind of fried flat bread made from corn flour – a bit like taking corn bread dough and frying it in a pan like a pancake. The inside swells up like cornbread, while the outside gets really crispy when fried in oil. It’s the perfect companion to an o’greens mess, or for breakfast, or as a sweet treat when drizzled with a little syrup.

I have read that hoecakes probably started with the Native Americans who apparently cooked them on hot stones inside an open fire. The method was then adapted by baking the bread on the blade of a hoe, and that’s how it got its name, although some people dispute it.

It was a reading request from a member of our family on Facebook, Sarah, and since the Cajun brought me a good dose of kale, I thought I could make a bigger request because I clearly have greens in the near future… and everyone knows that you either need corn bread or cakes to go with it! Of course, these cupcakes are also very good on their own.

Ingredients:

1 cup baking flour
1 cup all-purpose cornmeal
2 teaspoons of baking yeast
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup cooking oil (vegetable fat, canola, melted bacon, etc.)
1 tablespoon fat, for frying, or oil combined with a little butter

Instructions :

Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place a rack on top; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Measure buttermilk into a liquid measuring cup and add water and oil; mix well. Add the eggs and mix well. Mix with dry ingredients. Heat the oil and butter in a cast iron skillet over medium to medium heat and place the batter about 1/8 cup measuring cup into the hot skillet to form small medallions.
Fry until golden brown and crispy, turn them over and brown on the other side. Remove and drain on a rack. Serve immediately with hot syrup for breakfast or as a snack, or dip them in a mix of greens to absorb their juice!
Variation : When corn is at its peak and in season, add about 1 cup of cut and scraped corn. You will need about 1 large ear of corn. You can also make a pan hoecake out of it. Add just enough buttermilk to make a stiff dough. You may not need extra water. Pour into a well greased 8-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and let brown underneath for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pass a metal egg-turner underneath and turn to brown the other side. You can also bake in a well preheated oven at 425 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes (no turning required).
Tip: If you spray a little nonstick on the measuring cup before emptying it, the batter will come right off. If you don’t have this 1/8 cup measure, just make about 2 tablespoons of batter at one time and push it out to form a medallion.

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