Cornmeal Molasses Pancakes with Vanilla Blackberry Sauce

Hannah came to visit me (Kate) this weekend! Exciting stuff.

She got to see my apartment and meet my cat and examine the baking sitch I have going on. As in, she met the Kitchenaid too. A convergence of the two biggest players in my baking life. Big day.

It was super awesome to have her here for the weekend (obvs) and we celebrated by making pancakes (double obvs) from Joy the Baker (obvs times a million).

It’s super fun to have a friend come to visit for the weekend. You can show them all your favorite places and have an excuse to put off work. So many advantages.

As Hannah, the Roommate, and I are in grad school, though, the weekend was maybe not what most would consider exciting.

For example, when Hannah arrived on Friday evening, we spent about an hour agonizing over what we wanted to do. We’re a decisive bunch. Have been since high school. Planning evenings out generally requires one of us to make a list of options, one of us to narrow the list to three, and one of us to eventually choose. We’ve worked out a nice (read: ridiculous) system to accommodate our very mature and adult-like behavior. Naturally, we went through this process on Friday and decided on picking up pizza (down from Italian, Mexican, Thai, or pizza) and watching a movie (down from watching a movie at home, going to a movie in a theater, or going to bars downtown).

Saturday, The Roommate woke up to find us sitting in my bed, paging through cookbooks. She found this rather comical. We didn’t really see what was weird about it. The FedEx man had just delivered my new Dorie Greenspan cookbooks (thanks, Amazon, for mislisting them at $5.82 for the set… instead of $80. Not upset I took advantage of that mistake…). And everyone knows the first thing you do when you receive a new cookbook is look at every single recipe inside it.  Once The Roommate was done making fun of us, we brunched ($1 mimosas helped make this decision less strained), sunned (this was even more of a no-brainer), 21 Jump Streeted (hilarious), and then bar-ed. This was not wild bar-ing, though. Just sit on a couch in a chill bar with incredible drinks and chat bar-ing. And maybe then pick up pizza from the food truck down the street bar-ing. And then come home and watch Homestarrunner videos because maybe you’re back in high school (except for the drinking thing) bar-ing.

Probably the craziest thing that happened Saturday was Hannah waking up in the middle of the night with Kirby (my cat) sleeping on her face. Welcome to my apartment! Welcome to our crazy lives!!

Sunday, we brunched again. With mimosas again. But this time we made the brunch. And it was amazing. I only ever want to make Joy the Baker breakfast foods ever again. Her cookbook is my new favorite possession/obsession.

Our slightly disorganized brunch spread.

We chose these pancakes because: 1) you know how we feel about cornmeal, 2) I had just purchased some beautiful blackberries, and 3) I had been itching to use the vanilla beans I got as a stocking stuffer for Christmas. They were a good choice. For all these reasons, but also because they were delicious.

Cornmeal Molasses Pancakes with Vanilla Blackberry Sauce

Makes 16-20 4″ pancakes 


For the Batter

1 large egg

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 tbsp unsulfured molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

For the Sauce

1/2 vanilla bean (or 2 tsp extract)

1 heaping cup of fresh blackberries

1/3 cup water

2 tbsp granulated sugar


  1. For the batter– Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, molasses, vanilla, and butter in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix flour, salt, baking soda and powder in another bowl. Add the first mixture to the second and mix until just combined. Add the cornmeal and stir until just combined again. Don’t worry about lumpy batter. Worry about overmixing (because it leads to sad pancakes).
  3. Meanwhile, as you let the batter sit for a few minutes, for the sauce– horizontally cut a fresh vanilla bean in half and split one half down the middle. Scrape the inside of the bean out, but reserve the pod.
  4. In a saucepan, heat the water, sugar, berries, scraped vanilla and remaining pod over medium low heat. Simmer for 6-8 minutes or until some liquid cooks up and the mixture becomes syrupy. Remove the vanilla bean pod before serving.
  5. Now that the batter has had some time to sit, heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and place 1 tbsp butter or oil onto it. Once heated, drop 2 tbsp batter onto the greased skillet. Repeat as many times as there is space in your pan. Flip your pancakes when the bubbles the form in the batter begin to burst and the edges start to dry. You want the bottoms brown. If they’re not browning yet, let your pan get hotter.
  6. Repeat with all the batter. Serve with sauce (not optional) and mimosas and bacon (optional…ish).
Recipe from Joy the Baker

After brunch, we marathoned some TV on DVD, and then Hannah had to drive back home (boo).

We only managed to take two photos together while she was here. Fail. If we never update the About page with a picture of the both of us, though, you can just go on thinking that Hannah made me up. That isn’t awful, right? Good trade-off for our photographic failures, I’d say.

Bake with love!!



  1. Those pancakes sound so good. I like to make blackberry sauce for pancakes too–next time I will try vanilla instead of my usual lemon in the sauce! And food is always better, of course, when we get to share it with our favorite people. 🙂

    1. They were delicious! I might have to try your blackberry-lemon sauce for pancakes next time. Sounds amazing!
      And I totally agree… food is always much more delicious when surrounded by good friends.

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