Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl; stir in half and half and 1 tablespoon oil. Gradually add boiling water, stirring until batter is the consistency of grits.
Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch into a large heavy skillet (cast iron), place over medium high heat. Scoop batter into a 1/4 cup measure;drop into hot oil, and fry in bathches 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain well on paper towels. Serve immediately with softened butter.