Here’s Johnny

State night is back! This week Miss A is taking us to Utah. Utah has to be one of the most beautiful states Mike and I have ever seen. We spent a few days touring its many national parks on one of our cross-country trips before the kids were born, so we were happy to revisit some of those memories.

Surprisingly though, it was hard to find traditional recipes from the Beehive state. The state fruit is the cherry, but we covered those in Michigan; the state historic vegetable is the sugar beet, and you know how we feel about those (if you don’t here’s a refresher); and the state snack is Jell-O, but well, after Lisa’s post on its mystery ingredients, we can’t bring ourselves to eat it. Then we came across several recipes for the Mormon Johnnycake – done deal. We can do that and it just so happens it was a good match for a Nicaraguan dinner we’ll share later this week.

We started by combining the wet ingredients – eggs, buttermilk and molasses – in a mixing bowl.

Mr. N whisked them together for us. That little smile on his face…I called him Chef. I think he rather liked the sound of that.

Next we sifted together some flour, baking soda and salt and measured out the corn meal.

Mr. N practiced his whisking skills by slowly incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Look at him go!

Before we poured the batter into our cast iron skillet, we mixed in a few tablespoons of melted butter. Then it was ready to go.

We baked the Johnnycake for 20 minutes at 425F at which point it was beautifully golden brown.

Then we served our bread with our Nicaraguan steak and beans dinner. Nicaragua meet Utah.

The Johnnycake was a hit right out of the gate with Mike. He immediately gave it 3 solid spoons. It was also an instant 1 spoon from Miss A who took a bite and said, “One spoon. I hate this cake. It’s not cake.” I suppose she was expecting more of a dessert cake.

Mr. N and I initially broke the same way as Mike and Miss A with our votes. He came in with 3 spoons and I came in with 1 spoon. I typically enjoy cornbread, but this particular version was not working for me…until, that is, it was drizzled with some agave.

Now this is what I’m talking about! This simple little adjustment took it from 1 spoon to 3 spoons for me. It also took Mr. N from 3 spoons to a full 4 spoon ranking.

Mike also enjoyed the agave with the Johnnycake, but he was already digging it to begin with. And as for Miss A, well the agave couldn’t save this cake. I don’t think anything short of icing and some candles would have done it for her.

Overall, I think the Johnnycake will grace our table again, but next time we’ll likely add some of our favorite cornbread fixings to the list of ingredients (think cheese, jalapeños, corn kernels, etc.). Still it was fun to try a new traditional recipe from beautiful, beautiful Utah.

Print this recipe: Mormon Johnnycake

58 comments on “Here’s Johnny

  1. Anna Hergert says:

    Corn Bread, or Johnnycake as it is called in our house, is usually created for a Sunday breakfast. I love taking the wedge, slicing it in half through the moist cake, spreading it with a little butter and topping it with s drizzle of maple syrup (so Canadian!) or some favorite jam my girlfriend crafted from her organically grown fruit.

    Thanks for sharing your adventures – love the narration and the images! I will be back for more!

  2. Mel says:

    Johnnycake – sounds so cute! :-) Chef Mr N. definitely has a very professional look about him.

  3. Deborah says:

    I just had to go back and read through the comments to see if there were any other Utahns, and I’m glad to see that the fried scones were mentioned. Definitely a Utah staple! (and the funeral potatoes that were mentioned as well. Funny – I’ve done both and posted both on my blog!)

  4. Deborah says:

    Although I didn’t grow up in Utah, I have called it home for the last 15 years. But I’ve never had a Johhnycake! And surprisingly, I wouldn’t even know what to say is a traditional Utah recipe. But I think that I would really like this recipe – especially with it drizzled with the agave!

  5. I love the picture of Mr N whisking away..so professional and serious and I really love your plating, mouthwatering!

  6. That drizzle of agave is inspired! I’ve made skillet cornbread similar to this, and you’re right, it’s not very cake-like– but it does have its own charm! :)

  7. I’ve got to side with the adorable Ms.A and say I need me some icing and sprinkles to call it a cake – nevertheless is looks tasty, and definitely improved with that agave on top.

  8. “I hate this cake. It’s not cake” – tell Miss A from me that I think her opinions are top notch. Keeping it real she is. It’s like people who use sweetener instead of sugar, that’s not sugar, I hate it too! But it does look lovely drizzled with agave.

  9. sallybr says:

    I tell you one thing, agave nectar makes almost anything delicious! Loved that photo, so beautiful!

    and, the two photos from Utah (the last one unfortunately blocked today from Wiki, but I could catch a glimpse of it) – are AMAZING!

    Loved the very serious and professional look on Mr. N’s face as he worked on the dry ingredients…. awesome!

  10. rsmacaalay says:

    I think any good jam would also be good with that cake!

  11. Dawn says:

    Your pictures keep getting better and better – that looks amazing!!! I could go for some right about now…can your son come over and make some for us??

    • Kristy says:

      Dawn – thank you so much! :) It’s certainly an on-going process this photography stuff! And I have no doubt if you called Mr. N your chef for the night he’d be happy to cook this up for you. LOL.

  12. How can you not smile at the name Johnny Cake? The name alone has sold me on this dish…and I think the name “cake” will sell the girls on this side dish. Thanks for introducing me to something new!

    • Kristy says:

      It is definitely a fun name isn’t it?! Unfortunately it couldn’t sell Miss A. Maybe someday though – often times it’s about catching her in the right mood. LOL. ;)

  13. Kelli says:

    How fun to highlight different states! Funny what you can learn on a blog; I never knew the cherry was our state fruit. I would have thought a raspberry or peach. Like another reader, I too am a lifetime Utahn, but I HAVE heard of Johnnycake. It’s not huge around here but I remember having it for breakfast at my friend’s house when I was real young. As I recall, it didn’t have molasses, but we would put it in a bowl with milk and sprinkle sugar on top. When served that way, I truly thought I was having real cake for breakfast! I love using agave, but honey would actually make it more representative of “Utah” because we are the Beehive state with many honey makers! I agree with the suggestion for a real Utah food being the scone (fried dough). Wonderful with honey butter!

    • Kristy says:

      Hi Kelli! Thanks for stopping by. Yep we highlight different states and countries. It’s been a ton of fun with the kids. I know for certain after your comment and the other from a Utah native that we’ll be making these scones! They just sound too good. :) And I’m going to take your suggestion and try some of my leftovers with honey. :)

  14. Caroline says:

    The addition of agave would have done it for me too. Looks amazing! The Nicaraguan steak and beans looks beyond delicious as well. Seriously, can I please come over for dinner sometime? Way too much good food in your house!!

  15. spicegirlfla says:

    Guess it just needed a bit of sweetness! The texture looks great and it cut so well (not all crumbly!) that it would appear moist and tender to me!! Gotta love you guys for plugging along and finding all these recipes to share!! Great pics of Mr. N, he does take his jobs seriously!!

    • Kristy says:

      Mr. N takes his job very seriously. :) Love that about him. The texture was actually pretty good. It was a tad on the dry side, but not overly so. And it did hold together incredibly well. But yes, it needed the sweetness (for me anyway). :)

  16. What a beautiful dinner. Glad the Agave saved the day!

  17. I think I agree with you, Kristy, this cornbread does not have the moistness nor sweetness we have grown accustomed to with the southern styles. Perhaps this would make a good stuffing (Greg posted a recipe a while back) because it sure looks like it needs a good whack of flavours to make it delicious! Nice try though.

  18. I love the buttermilk in this cornmeal cake and the drizzle of agave is perfect. Great job Chef N! Looking forward to discovering your Nicaraguan steak and beans dish.

  19. Mary says:

    Great looking bread! – I wish I had had your recipe when I tried to make cornbread for my chili the other day – this would have been perfect!
    Mary x

  20. Oh, thanks for the mention! I hope I didn’t scare anyone w/ the jello post! lol!

  21. My kids love cornbread! My husband always called them Johnny bread or Johnny cakes, his sister makes the best and she’s not ready to share her secret….maybe b/c she’s afaid I’ll post the recipe on my site! lol
    Mr. N is a natural in the kitchen, love that photo of him whisking away!

  22. first of all I love the name johnny cake and secondly, I am with rufus, anything with cornbread and molasses I am sold

  23. SVF says:

    Some other favorite Utah foods: the state cooking pot is the dutch oven, so dutch oven potatoes would be great. Or a Utah scone, (a yeast bread, deep fried and served with honey butter). Or, a Mormon classic, Funeral Potatoes, so named because we bring this comfort food to funerals. I’ve been a Utah native all my life, and never heard of the dish you found.

    • Kristy says:

      Thank you for the suggestions! We often revisit states, so now we’ll have some new ideas. :) The scone sounds particularly fantastic! Thank you for stopping by and sharing some ideas. I’m looking forward to trying some of these.

  24. ChgoJohn says:

    “What’s in a name?” Well, a spoon or 2 when you’re serving the dish to the discerning Miss A. I must be the last person in all of WordPress to jump on the agave bandwagon. Late to the party again!

  25. Charles says:

    “Johnnycake” – haha, great name :) I had cornbread a few times… My wife ordered some things from an online American grocery store which ships to France and one of the things she ordered was cornmeal. I’d heard a lot about it so I was eager to try it and I’ll tell you – that stuff, fresh out of the pan with butter… incredible!! I was thinking this looks quite similar – I love treacle and molasses and those sorts of things so, while it’s not really a traditional “side” in Europe, I can well imagine I’d really love this cake (or “un-cake” according to Miss A).

    Yummy looking recipe Kristy :)

    • Kristy says:

      Oh! If you still have some cornmeal left try sprinkling it on the bottom of a pizza stone or pan before putting your crust over it. Love it on pizza crust! :) And I’m with you – cornbread fresh out of the pan with butter is awesome! The butter was enough for Mike with this one, but I needed the agave.

  26. I remember Johnnycakes growing up.. but I believe my great grandmother would make it differently. I wish I could tell you the recipe.. I was too small to get it lol. Maybe my mom might know it. But I think with the agave, it looks amazing. If you made sweet cornbread (the southern version), I think Miss A probably would have loved it lol.

  27. Never had a Johnny cake before – wonder how many spoons I would give it… :-) Mandy

  28. Courtney says:

    I’ve had Jamaican Jonnycakes before, but have never heard of the Mormon kind…. looks good though. Especially with the agave. And I can not wait to hear about the Nicaraguan steak and beans!

  29. A_Boleyn says:

    It does sound like you had a hard time coming up with regional Utah recipes to try but it you made the best of what you had to work with, even if it wasn’t unanimously enjoyed. I have been hearing about agave nectar for a while now and will keep an eye out for it though I would probably have just used … honey. :)

  30. Molasses and cornbread, I’m sold. Also, what a great name.

Thank you for commenting!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s