Cornmeal pancakes are an American cuisine staple that has been around for generations. They go by several names, like johnnycakes, journey cakes and Shawnee cakes. The name I know them by is what we call them down South—hoecakes. The term refers to the times when farmhands would use their hoes, which are very large and flat like griddles, to make cornmeal pancakes over open flames.
Hoecakes were one of my most-requested breakfast treats as a kid. They are naturally sweet from the corn. One of my favorite things about making them today for my son is their sturdiness. I can make them in the morning and give them to him in the car. They never fall apart or make a crumby mess. And the best part is that he loves them as much as I do!
These pancakes are really easy to make, too, because they are very similar to regular pancakes. I first start by combining self-rising white cornmeal mix with Bisquick and yellow cornmeal. Blending both white and yellow cornmeal makes a delicious pancake with more texture. Then I add my egg, buttermilk and oil along with a little sugar. I give this a quick whisk and set it aside to rest.
You can cook these pancakes in either vegetable oil or bacon drippings. In my family, we usually cook up a pan of bacon, and then use the reserved drippings for the hoecakes.
The first one is usually never just the way I want, so I always give it to my ready-and-waiting chocolate lab, my kitchen assistant/floor cleaner.
Serve the hoecakes with warm maple syrup, bacon and fresh fruit. Any leftover pancakes can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. They can be reheated easily in the microwave for breakfast the next day or for an afternoon snack.