Who doesn’t love a strawberry, really?
Of course, some people are cruelly handed a strawberry allergy out of life’s deck of cards, but it’s not often that you hear “no thanks, I don’t actually care for strawberries.” They seem to be universally adored, and maybe that is because they are the first exciting sign of warm weather to come.
I know that is what makes me pretty excited to see them popping up, and at the first sight of their crimson blush, I immediately knew I would make these Bacon and Jalapeno Hoe Cakes with Strawberry Maple Syrup.
As though maple syrup is not good enough on its own, the addition of these perfectly sweet, springtime gems really makes it something special. I’m a big fan of maple syrup, but only the real stuff! No imposter syrups find their way into my kitchen, and even when we do go for a drizzle- it’s just that. Moderation is key, even with natural sweeteners.
It makes it more special that way, and it feels like a treat.
And treating yourself to some of life’s simple pleasures is the best way to develop a healthy relationship with food. We eat with all of our senses, so really taking a minute to stop and admire the color, smell, and texture of everything you put on your plate can really go a long way in giving food the appreciation it deserves.
Food is fuel, and its main purpose is to nourish our bodies, but there is so much more involved with conscious eating. I never, ever think about calories while I’m sitting down to feed myself. I just mentioned moderation, so that is crucial… but it’s no way to go through life, thinking about your body like a bank account- constantly chasing a calorie deficit.
If you do, then it will leave you either feeling unsatisfied, or guilty. Which isn’t a great way to feel, after a meal or not.
While my focus is absolutely not on calorie counts, I do spend a great deal of energy seeking out quality ingredients- ones that my body recognizes as real, and can use to operate the complex machine that it is.
In case you’re not from the South, hoe cakes are cornmeal cakes that are fried up in my favorite kitchen accomplice- the cast iron skillet. This version has a base of organic cornmeal, and is fluffed up and sweetened a little by blending in a ripe banana. Not your grandma’s recipe, I’m sure, but around here we like to barrow from the past and put our own twist on things.
The hoe cakes are studded with some jalapeno and bacon crumbles, topped with a pat of real butter, and drizzled with a seasonally delicious syrup.
Hoe cakes with strawberry maple syrup might just be my new favorite breakfast to make for the people I love. The morning I made these I sent my neighbor/sidekick a text to come over IMMEDIATELY. I needed her to share in my hoe cake joy.
And to be honest, I was a little afraid that I might lose my own battle with moderation and eat the entire batch.
She was glad to help… and that’s what good neighbors are for.
And because Helen has slowly but surely infringed on my husband’s taste tester entitlements, I made them again the next day, and invited over my mom.
Hoecakes are good. Bacon and Jalapeno Hoe Cakes with Strawberry Maple Syrup? Too good not to share.
Adapted from Mark Bittman.
- 1.5 cups organic cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 eggs
- 2 ripe bananas
- 4 pieces of bacon
- 1 jalapeno, deseeded
- pinch of salt
- butter for frying
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- While oven preheats, add strawberries and water to blender. Blend until smooth and transfer to a small saucepan along with vanilla extract.
- Bring berry puree to a simmer and allow to cook, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes. Add maple syrup and continue to cook for another minute or so. Remove from heat and keep covered to keep warm.
- Line a baking sheet with foil, and place bacon on sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until bacon is crispy. Remove bacon, and allow to drain on a paper towel. Reduce oven heat to 200.
- While bacon cooks, add cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and hot water to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine, and allow to sit for about 5 minutes, allowing hot water to soften cornmeal.
- While cornmeal softens, finely dice bacon and deseeded jalapeno.
- Rinse blender, and to it add bananas and eggs. Blend briefly, just until bananas are incorporated. Add to cornmeal mixture along with bacon and jalapenos. Mix to combine.
- Heat a pan (cast iron skillet is best) over medium high heat. Add butter to pan, and pour pancakes in 1/4 cup portions. Work in batches and do not overcrowd.
- When pancakes begin to brown around the edges and bubbles form at the top, carefully flip and continue cooking on the other side. Place finished pancakes in oven to keep warm while you prepare the remainder, adding butter each round of pancakes.
- Transfer syrup to a serving dish. Divide hoe cakes between 4 plates and top with additional strawberries and butter. DIG IN.
This recipe makes plenty of syrup. If you have any leftover, refrigerate for up to a week and rewarm slightly to enjoy another day.
Sharing life’s simple pleasures makes them that much more enjoyable.
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.