Johnnycakes have had quite the journey through history, from pre-colonial Native Americans to the modern staple of the Caribbean and the East Coast. Gran's Johnnycake may not have been the first, but it's absolutely the best! Almost like a sweetened cornbread, Gran's Johnnycake is hearty, golden, and fluffy, with notes of summer brightness from the cornmeal. It only takes 35 minutes to make, so you can have it whenever you want a rustic, classic dessert, or even an unconventional breakfast!
Ingredients• 1 cup pastry flour, sifted before measuring • 4 teaspoons baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt • 1/3 cup brown sugar, light or dark, lightly packed • 1 cup yellow cornmeal • 7/8 cup milk • 1 large egg • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla • 3 tablespoons shortening, melted and slightly cooled, or 3 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil • butter, optional, for serving • maple syrup, optional, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease an 8x8-inch pan.
Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
Mix in the brown sugar and cornmeal.
In a small bowl, beat the milk, egg, vanilla, and shortening.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
Bake until lightly golden and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan, about 20-25 minutes.
Cut into squares.
Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.