Thursday, January 8, 2009

What are Corn Dodgers??

Don't you just LOVE the name? I recently posted that I was making Corn Dodgers to go with our stew one night.. and then came the question.. what are corn dodgers..
So here you go...
A corndodger, or just dodger, is a ball of cornmeal (and sometimes flour), water (or milk), oil (or lard) and usually sugar. This is deep fried (like a hushpuppy), or baked. They are also known as Johnny Cakes and seem to come out of the Colonial Era.
"In the book George Washington's Breakfast, author Jean Fritz tells us that George Washington ate Johnny cakes every day."

"Johnny Cakes can be cooked on a hot buttered griddle, baked in the oven, or cooked on a clean, buttered hoe."

“The universal food of the people of Texas, both rich and poor, seems to be corn-dodger and fried bacon.”
Frederick Law Olmstead 'A Journey Through Texas' (1856)

“Her corn-cake, in all its varieties of hoe-cake, dodgers, muffins and other species too numerous to mention, was a sublime mystery to all less practised compounders.” Harriet Beecher Stowe, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' (1852)

My corn dodger recipe is adapted from the Joy of Cooking. David is allergic to wheat and gluten as well as eggs so this recipe works for him. It is also quick and can be made while dinner is simmering. We first encountered corn dodgers when David and I were invited to dinner at a friend's house. They worked hard to come up with some sort of bread or biscuit to go with the simple soup that they were serving that David would be able to eat. They were fabulous! So we started making them too. Rebecca likes to help form the dodgers. Last weekend she had a sleepover here with a friend and I had both girls helping.. it was fun.
We love them!

Corn Dodgers

Preheat oven to 400. Grease cookie sheet.

Mix together the dry ingredients:
1 cup of corn meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar

Mix together the wet ingredients:
1 cup boiling water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
(optional 1 beaten egg...egg is not in the old recipes)
as substitute for egg,
I use 1 Tablespoon Flax meal steeped in 3 Tablespoons boiling water
then pulsed in the food processor.

Mix together wet and dry until blended.
Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

These come out almost crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. We eat them plain though you could be decadent and add butter.. Yum...
Last time I made corn dodgers, I included minced parsley and mushrooms. After dropping them on the cookie sheet, I flattened them a bit with my hand. They looked more like cookies. Flattening them served to up the crispy character and keep the inside soft. They were fritter-like. Oh they were good... next time I will also add a bit of minced onion... I think that will be good! oooh and maybe some garlic!


Ara Morenberg Cochran said...

Hi - they do something similar in the Cayman Islands (probably other islands too). Instead of deep frying the same dough, place it on top of the stew and let the steam cook it. They don't come out crunchy, so that might defeat your purpose, but it's delicious -- sort of like a chicken pot pie with the biscuits on top. I want to try them the fried way now so I can get a variation - I'm sure their yummy!

Patrice Farmer said...

I've got to try this!

Tiffany said...

YUM! I've always loved hush puppies and these sound tasty too. Thanks for sharing.

Just found your blog and think it's great :)

Kristina said...

Yes, i do love this! I use the egg replacer often and I will share this link with other families!

Anonymous said...

thank you for posting this! I am gluten free, and don't tolerate eggs very well so i can't wait to try it.

I wonder if you could use this dough in a soup as a cornmeal dumpling?

Beth Molaro said...

I have never tried them as dumplings in soup.. tho we love to crumble them into soup!
Let me know how they come out if you try them as dumplings!
Good Luck!

timmyl said...

If you add onions, you should call them Hush Puppies. Hush Puppies are the Southern Johnny Cake and are savory rather than sweet. Fried grits with onions, sometimes served with gravy.

DallasDeckard said...

Thanks for your recipe and the history lesson. A word about "activism"... this word used to mean something, now it's just a hobby. Today's activists do it as a way to amuse themselves. Activism shouldn't always be "fighting" something, it should be more positive. I get so tired of people who are always protesting something, but have no time whatsoever to volunteer and give their time to those less fortunate. Living a decent life and helping those around us is far, far more productive and important than someone who is always fighting the efforts of others. Just my opinion.

manchacaman said...

My Grandmother used to make great corn dodgers. As I remember she would make a thin gravy with pork roast, and then add the corn dodgers (uncooked) to the gravy and pieces of roast once the mixture began to boil. Similar to chicken and dumplings. Has anyone ever heard of this.

Carolyn said...

My grandmother, born in 1879, had her own variation - cornmeal, salt, bacon grease and boiling water. Roll the mixture out very thinly on a cookie sheet using wax paper between the corn dodger and rolling pin. Bake at 400 until brownish crisp. Break into pieces and butter lightly. Yummy with navy bean soup!

Anonymous said...

My roommate said you should mention John Wayne's name since that's where he heard of corn dodgers. John Wayne was eating them in the movie "True Grit"! Anyway thanks for recipe! We can't wait to try them!