Yesterday morning I made corn pancakes, and it was almost a complete fiasco. Let me tell you all about it.
Deb’s has long been my go-to recipe for corn pancakes. But because I’m a total doof and haven’t yet created a binder of recipe print-outs that will allow me to stop killing trees every time I want to cook something, I have to print out the recipe for anything I want to cook, and this morning smitten kitchen was down. So I turned to my recipe bookmarks and the three other recipes for corn pancakes I have saved over the years (shut up, okay, I fully intend to do … deep recipe testing … someday), and selected a recipe from a blogger I haven’t read in awhile: Kevin of Closet Cooking.
Kevin’s recipes may be excellent, but they tend to be incredibly elaborate and rely on this complex sauce you made yesterday or that spice mix you’ve been allowing to meld for a month. He’s an absolute master at reusing leftovers in creative and exciting ways, and I admire that. However, when I’m looking for a dinner recipe I’m not usually looking for a multi-day project. I’m not even always looking to go food shopping. Also, not for nothing, but the recipes have gotten less accessible over the past year, and his writing isn’t remotely dynamic enough to keep me on its own merits. The recipes themselves are almost comically underwritten. But while I’ve ultimately turned away from Closet Cooking, I bookmarked quite a few of his recipes over the years for when I am looking for multi-day projects. He also happens to have done a recipe for corn pancakes, and when I couldn’t reach smitten kitchen today, it saved my ass.
However, a good recipe is only half the cooking battle. The other half is not being an idiot, and on that count, I failed miserably. First I confused corn flour with cornmeal (the recipe calls for the latter, I used the former) and assumed it wouldn’t make a difference. Then I saw that the recipe calls for milk rather than buttermilk, which goes directly against my hard-won pancake knowledge that milk will make too-thin pancake disasters and buttermilk will set you free (and when I say “hard-won” I mean that I have spared you the many stories of disastrous pancake breakfasts (after the first time) fucked up because, I ultimately realized, buttermilk substitute is not actually an effective substitute for buttermilk, at least in pancakes), so I stupidly decided I knew better than the professional food blogger, and in went a cup of buttermilk. I also left out the melted unsalted butter, because I couldn’t find it. But the key fuck-ups for you to have in your mind, here, are the corn flour and the buttermilk.
I mixed everything together and was quite distressed to see how much it resembled cement. I was even more distressed by how much it tasted like cement. I decided I’d try to fix it with more sugar, and was rewarded with sugary cement. At that point I was ready to scrap the whole thing and sulk for awhile, but my mom had the brilliant idea of running the whole mess through a fine mesh strainer, saving the corn, and starting over. Thanks Mom!
This time there were no fuck-ups. They were delicious.
Notes & Verdicts
Fresh Corn Pancakes by Closet Cooking
Notes: Kevin includes baking soda in the ingredient list but not in the instructions. I decided to be on the safe side and included it. I also did not put in the grated cheese he suggests, though that would probably be really nice if you were going for a southwest theme.
Verdict: Delicious. Deb’s recipe is a little different and I’m not sure which is better – you’d need a side-by-side taste test, which would be fun as hell – but I loved these. A