It probably won’t surprise you to hear that one of my favorite things to do is spoil the people in my life with baked goods. There is seriously nothing I love more than baking for my friends and family – especially when they come to visit! Breakfast is usually the meal I go all out on, because it’s pretty hard to top waking up to a freshly baked treat. Pancakes and biscuits are always a good option, but when I want to go allllll out and really pamper my guests……I make coffee cake. And this gluten-free Chocolate Pecan Coffee Cake just happens to be my new favorite.
As most of my friends and family will tell you, I’m so not a morning person. Mornings and I don’t get along very well. Like it takes me a good hour to be a functioning human being after waking up. Which is kind of weird because I LOVE breakfast. You would think that the excitement of getting to eat a crispy waffle or big stack of pancakes would make me become more of a morning person……but not so much. I mean it helps and definitely makes mornings better, but it still hasn’t converted me to a full-blown morning loving person.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I’ve been on a mission to create the world’s greatest banana bread. It all started a few weeks ago when the husband came home from work and ever so innocently told me someone brought in the best banana bread ever. I smiled and replied, “Ohhh, really?? That’s cool.” But what I was really thinking was, “Are you freaking kidding me?! I’ll show you the best banana bread ever.” It was totally like that episode of Friends when Monica tells Chandler her new co-worker is the funniest guy ever. And, much like Chandler, I let a completely innocuous statement send me into a tailspin. Because baking is MY thing and there was no way I was going to let some other person (who I’m sure is perfectly lovely and most likely not as insanely competitive as me) steal my thunder. And thus began my quest to create the greatest banana bread that has ever existed ever.
There’s a part of me that thinks I must have been an old Southern lady in a past life. Despite growing up in Miami where Cuban food is the more typical comfort food, I have a deep and profound love for all Southern food. I could eat grits with every meal. Fried chicken and waffles is, in my opinion, the greatest food combination ever invented. Just the thought of biscuits makes me happy and I’m obsessed with all things cornmeal. I mean seriously obsessed. I truly believe that cornmeal makes everything better. Waffles? Add some cornmeal! Biscuits? Make them cornmeal! Shortbread? Sure why not, throw some cornmeal in there! Chocolate pudding? Ummmmm…….maybe don’t add cornmeal to that one, but you get my point.
One of my favorite cornmeal dishes is Cornmeal Pancakes. They are my go-to weekend breakfast, especially if people are in-town visiting or coming over for breakfast. These pancakes are huge crowd pleasers. I’m telling you people – it’s the cornmeal! It’s magical stuff. I went through a lot of recipes before finding the perfect one. You would think that a great Cornmeal Pancake recipe would be easy to find, but I’m oddly picky about my pancakes. Every recipe I found seemed to have some kind of problem. The pancakes were either too thin or they weren’t cornmealey enough or they were too sweet. I was about to give up hope until one day, while looking at The LA Times online, there it was…….the absolute perfect Cornmeal Pancake recipe.
This recipe is everything I could ever want in a pancake. They’re thick, fluffy, and delicious with just the right amount of cornmeal. Another testament to the greatness of this recipe is that I only made one very slight tweak to it. I like my pancakes to be really cornmealey (shocker – I know), so I use half regular cornmeal and half coarsely ground cornmeal. The coarse cornmeal adds a little bit of crunch to the texture and makes for a really great hearty pancake. Pancake batter is one of those things that gets better the longer it rests. The best thing is to make it the night before and let it rest in the fridge overnight. I rarely have enough forethought to do that, but even just setting it aside for 30 minutes will make a difference.
These pancakes are phenomenal with a little butter and some maple syrup. If you really want to up the awesome factor, fry up some turkey sausage to go on the side. You really can’t get a much better breakfast than that!