cornmeal pancakes with blackberry-goat cheese syrup

Cornmeal pancakes with blackberry-goat cheese syrup.
Cornmeal pancakes with blackberry-goat cheese syrup

Work has been busy lately.  Before I started these law shenanigans, I dreaded the times I’d say that phrase.  I had friends in undergrad and law school who used to say that they’d go stir-crazy with nothing to do for too long, which I never understood at the time.  I thought of myself as the kind of person who’d always be totally okay with having nothing to do.  I am so good at doing nothing, guys.  (And then, usually, making way too many unnecessary messes in the kitchen.)

But it turns out I can get a little stir-crazy too.  The nature of our jobs is usually cyclical, dependent on the case or the deal, and it’s naturally slow at times or crazy at others.  And, contrary to what I expected, I’m finding that sometimes my stress actually comes from the slow times.  My guess is that it all boils down to the simple fear of the unknown — a knot in my stomach from the feeling that if I’m slow now, and twiddling my thumbs now … then sooner or later it’s bound to come back to bite me in the form of sleepless nights and working weekends.  So when the busy time does arrive, at least I know this is what I’m getting.

Without a doubt, though, the best part about work getting busy is the moment when it finally isn’t, and it settles down.  How extremely Friday-like Friday feels when it comes at the tail-end of some long hours.  And how luxuriously lazy a Sunday brunch at home is when my kitchen and my time is at my disposal.

Cornmeal pancakes with blackberry-goat cheese syrup.
Cornmeal pancakes with blackberry-goat cheese syrup

On weekends like these, I always feel like there’s nothing better and more fitting than pancakes.  Fluffy, decadent, soft, and lazy pancakes (after which you’re also fluffy, soft, and lazy).  This iteration of my go-to brunch meal (former versions here and here) has to be one of my absolute favorites thus far.  First, the addition of cornmeal gives the pancakes a little extra heartiness (if I were forced to say why I didn’t like pancakes, the only thing might be how quickly I get hungry afterwards, despite how filling they are).  Second, I took a leaf out of Neil and DeDe’s Clinton St Baking Company pancake Bible (a post on those pancakes to come in a few weeks) and whipped the egg whites to medium peaks before adding them to the batter.  Um, so fluffy.  I could not believe the air these things got.  They’re the MJ of pancakes.

But most of all, it was the blackberry-goat cheese syrup.  I didn’t think I was a fan of fruit syrups on pancakes.  (Those crazy-colored syrups on the table at IHOP are foreign to me.) But I’m pretty sure I ate half of this syrup-compote-deliciousness just with a spoon on its own — the tart sharpness of these early blackberries is inexplicably smoothed away by the goat cheese to yield a sweet but deeply nuanced syrup that totally drove all thoughts of maple syrup from my mind.

Lastly, speaking of lazy breakfasts (and cooking while working long hours), I had the opportunity to work with the impeccable Verily Mag last week on a small piece for easy-peasy baked eggs en cocotte! You can find them here.

Cornmeal pancakes with blackberry-goat cheese syrup.

Yield: 6-8 pancakes, just enough for two.

inspired by Erika of Southern Souffle's rosemary buttermilk cornmeal pancakes and Carey of Reclaiming Provincial's honey-thyme & blackberry-goat cheese swirl ice cream (the gift that keeps on giving!).


  • for the blackberry-goat cheese syrup:
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Vermont Creamery creamy goat cheese (you can also use 1/2 tbsp fresh goat cheese or 1 tsp goat cheese crumbles)
  • for the pancakes:
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup milk (any kind; alternatively, you can use 1 cup buttermilk and omit the Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted, plus more for the pan


  1. For the blackberry syrup, combine blackberries and sugar in a small pot over medium heat. Simmer, stirring continuously and mashing the larger berries, for at least 5 minutes, or until sugar has melted, berries have released their juice, and the mixture forms a thick syrup. When syrup has thickened to where lines remain in the pot when stirred, stir in the goat cheese until dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside. (Note: You can strain the pulp out if you want a smooth syrup -- I ended up using both the pulp and syrup on my pancakes.)
  2. For the pancakes, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, milk, egg yolk, melted butter, and vanilla. Note that you should take care that your other ingredients aren't cold when you mix in the butter, or else it will re-solidify. It can be cool, just not refrigerator-cold. (If you forget and have it solidify -- as has happened to me -- just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and it should be fine.)
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix gently until just incorporated and small lumps remain.
  4. In a small bowl or cup, whip the egg white with an electric beater or a very strong arm until it reaches medium peaks. Fold the egg white very gently into the pancake batter -- it does not have to be fully incorporated.
  5. Heat a pat of butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, you're ready to cook. Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, drop batter onto the skillet (you may need to spread it a bit with your cup to form a circle). When bubbles pop on the pancake and leave a momentary hole, flip the pancake to cook the other side. Let cook for 1-2 more minutes, then remove and set aside. Repeat until batter is all gone.
  6. Serve with blackberry syrup and butter!


  1. says:

    March 12, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Oh my god, these glorious pancakes! My eyes seriously widened when I saw the pic of these on my feed. I also can’t wait for your post on those other pancakes with the blueberry sauce– because I LOVE blueberries with all my heart and soul. πŸ™‚

    I really adore whipping egg whites and using that as the leavener to a batter– very French-like. πŸ™‚ And there’s something just so sexy about carefully folding it in. Not to mention, it looks wonderful after you’ve finished– like the most puffiest, airiest cloud ever.

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Stephanie, your words seriously got my day off to such a wonderful start — first, thank you for such sweet words! Second, I’m glad to know that there’s at least someone out there who’s not tired of pancakes πŸ˜‰ and third, LOVE that you feel me on egg whites! I think I seriously said “whoooa” out loud when the first pancake started inflating like it was about to pop out of the pan. hahaha. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much, Steph. <3

  2. says:

    March 12, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Goodness help me.. these pancakes and that syrup!!.. I just need a seat at that table..I need to be your next door neighbor… and let’s talk about the egg white addition and how I need to try that.. Now count how many times I used the word need..
    You inspire me lady.. with every post. *insert kissey face emoji*

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 12, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      I would DIE if we were next-door neighbors. (Probably from overeating.) And let’s be real, we wouldn’t stay neighbors if that happened, because you’d blink and I’d have moved into your kitchen. Lol. πŸ˜‰ Thank you so much for your kind words, Erika!

  3. says:

    March 12, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Ha, yes. I can totally, totally relate to what you say and definitely that fear of knowing a new project is only round the corner but not knowing how good/bad it will be! And it’s so important, whether your busy or not, to take some time to step away from the laptop and get lost in something non-work related. These pancakes just look + sound totally decadent and delicious and everything that’s good in the world. Gorgeous photos too lady!

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Right?! I thought of you as I was writing this because your work sounded similar from your last post. So funny, since I never would have expected that of myself before I started working. Thank you so, so much for the kind words as always, dear friend!

  4. says:

    March 12, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Oh, your pancakes look so delicious, love the blackberry goat cheese syrup. I find I actually get my work done around the house and at work when I am the most busy. Sometimes I feel a little lost when things are slow. What’s that about?

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 12, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      I have no idea, but I feel the same way! I get so restless and anxious sometimes when things are slow, even though I know I should just enjoy it. That darn psyche, so tricksy. Thank you so much, Cheri πŸ™‚

  5. says:

    March 12, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Cynthia, you seriously stun me with every new post!! I love the moody feel/styling that you have going on–it’s definitely been inspiring me! Blackberry goat cheese syrup?!?! I think I’m in love. I’ve never topped my pancakes with anything so fancy pants but that sounds so up my alley and so doable! I love cornbread in seriously any form so this combination is basically my DREAM!

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Erika, you’re always so kind and encouraging <3 what would I do without you?! (And girl, you inspire ME, those banh mi pics were amazing!) Um, and this topping is SO doable and so easy! Not fancy at all πŸ™‚ Thank you, my dear!

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 12, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Awwww, haha! If you hear of any pancake fairies granting those wishes, definitely let me know… I’d have a standing order.

  6. says:

    March 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    i bought cornmeal last week, to make polenta and though i am not a fan of pancakes normally, you have me sold on the whole being lazy and decadent on a sunday morn… i’m already brainstorming how to make these GF and dairy free.

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 12, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      Girl you don’t even know — I can use all the soccer coach I can get! It means a ton to me, Michelle, because (as you know) I think your blog is the tops. Thanks so much <3

  7. says:

    March 12, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Love love love these photos!!! Although I’m not getting pancakes yet (just another Asian who didn’t grow up with it), I wouldn’t mind you making me these and change my mind when I go crash at your place. No, seriously…

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 12, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      YES. Come heeeeere :D:D:D:D!!!! And you know, it’s so funny, Asian-a-Asian — I would have expected not to have pancakes much as a kid either, but one of the only things my dad made me when I was growing up was a mean stack of Bisquick. (The other was ramen.) He could do that whole pan-flip and everything. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

  8. says:

    March 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Loving these pancakes and images, Cynthia! What an interesting way to incorporate goat cheese, I would never have thought of that; I’m sure it lends a lovely subtle creaminess to the syrup! And I hear you on getting full on pancakes and then being voraciously hungry afterwards – the evils of carbs and high glycemic indexes!

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 12, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      It really does! It’s funny, I thought goat cheese, being tangy already, would just add to the tartness, but it somehow just makes it so creamy and luscious. I have to hand it to Carey for being the genius behind the combo though. (What can’t that gal do?)

      Also, I definitely just read up on high GI foods — so that’s why. What would I do without you, Lindsey!

  9. says:

    March 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Oooh yum!! And again lady, you read my mind…I’m in the process of writing you an email asking how work is and here it is! lol!! I’ve been waiting for these pancakes since you posted on IG!! πŸ™‚ These look amazing! I’ve also never been a huge fan of fruit syrups on my pancakes, but then this one time, I had the most amazing homemade blackberry jam (and freshly picked, too!) at a B&B in Colorado – this reminds me of that but with the added goat cheese? That sounds amazing! Talk soon, friend!

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 12, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      Ohhh man, that homemade blackberry jam sounds so good. And YAY for being on the same wavelength! Even when we can’t talk, we’re talking πŸ˜‰ and eeeee so happy to get your email! Can’t wait to write back <3 hope you're having a lovely Wednesday, my dear friend.

  10. says:

    March 13, 2014 at 6:11 am

    But, but… I WANT THESE. I want the pancakes. I want the syrup. And I want someone to make it for me, because I’m laying in bed, and I KNOW THINGS ARE GOING TO GET VERY BUSY AT WORK THIS MONTH. I’m sorry about the yelling. I’m just very excited.

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 13, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Pancake-yelling is always acceptable. Also, any time you feel like hiring me as your live-in pancake maker, you just feel free to do that. Just some might get eaten before they make it to you.

  11. says:

    March 13, 2014 at 8:27 am

    These look wonderful!

    Also, I just wanted to reach out as a fellow law-related person. I’m a 3L living in DC and got serious in the kitchen during law school. I’ve always been a bit obsessed with food and travel, and being on a tight student budget forced me to collapse a necessary task–feeding myself–with my cooking hobby. It gave me a great excuse to re-live all the amazing dishes I’d enjoyed from living around the world, and also to make healthier versions.

    I’m going to be studying for the CA bar this summer, which is clearly going to be awful. Thanks for being inspiring! It’s great to see lawyers who are still able to spend quality time in the kitchen and run a successful blog. I think I’m going to start my own soon! Thanks for all your hard work, and stay warm in NYC!

    check out my insta, @lizinsobacity.

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 13, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      Oh yay! So happy to hear your story :):) you should definitely start a blog!!! I was the same as you and really started cooking in earnest when I was in law school. Blogging and cooking has been such a rewarding outlet since starting work — I hope it’ll be the same for you πŸ˜€

      Also, def terrified at the thought of the CA bar — the NY bar was scary enough. But you will absolutely pass :):) Enjoy your last semester of law school (3L is the BEST isn’t it?!) and good luck!

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 13, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Oh my god, have I told you how much I love yours? Have you really only been blogging for two months? I’m obsessed. So excited to keep following you as your blog grows!

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Thank you so much, Sini! That means a lot from you (and yes, action shots!!! So tricky, but so rewarding πŸ˜‰ ) Hope you’re having a lovely weekend yourself, dear friend <3

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 20, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      I really hadn’t either until I saw Carey’s genius idea! But I think you’ll absolutely love it. It’s really not a very “cheesy” flavor — more a smooth and creamy tang that is just awesome.

  12. says:

    March 17, 2014 at 4:32 am

    Stunning as always Cynthia! Yeah, I remember that “nothing to do” at work feeling too! Pancakes look delicious and that compote – wowzers. It looks perrrrfect.

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 20, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      I thought you would, Christina! Isn’t it weird how those times aren’t as relaxing as they seemed like they would be? I should learn to savor it. πŸ˜‰ And thank you so much for your kind words!

      • says:

        March 27, 2014 at 11:01 am

        It’s a really awesome personalized magazine app. They pull content from all over the web, and you can make your own magazines based on your interests. It’s mostly for iPad and iPhone, as far as i know, but you can also go to their website:

  13. says:

    March 18, 2014 at 10:35 am

    These are such beautiful photos. And I love the blackberry with goat’s cheese – blackberries are so delicious with creamy cheeses.

  14. says:

    March 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Cynthia, you know that I can totally relate to this post. Like, all of it. I appreciate my free time and weekends so much. I revel in it. I also enjoy the slow times at work because I know that sooner or later, those crazy whirlwind I-don’t-even-have-time-for-lunch periods will come crashing in. And yes, pancakes are the perfect way to start off a lazy Sunday. I need to make this recipe – I love the addition of cornmeal and the whipped egg whites. Beautiful photos as always, girl!

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 20, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      I need to learn how to enjoy the slow times more! I just feel antsy after awhile — which is something I never thought I’d say! But the free weekends always feel awesome, that’s for sure. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much, lovely lady!

  15. suus says:

    February 21, 2015 at 3:47 am

    It was delicious! Forgot to buy the cornmeal (not really wel known here in the supermarkets) and was terrified it wouldn’t work out, but….yum! No I’m ready to crawl back behind the computer and spend my Saturday typing research papers…

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