Wednesday, May 20, 2009

With cookies

I think it is critically important to have some homemade cookies in the house at all times. I mean, people stop by. Cravings hit. You really never know what's going to happen, so I find it best to be prepared at all times. With cookies.

Tonight I found that my supply of honey biscuits was running dangerously low, and I noticed that some chocolate wafers I made last week were not long for this world. So to fill the space in the nearly-empty cookie jar, I made a quick batch of cornmeal sandies. Void, filled.

Cornmeal sandies. I love the name. Even if the cookies weren't delectable, I'd probably still bake them, just because of the name. It's evocative of a crumbly, sweet cookie yielding softly on the tongue but lingering with a crunchy, toothsome bite. Cornmeal sandies. Tumbling bits of crunchy cornmeal and sugar crystals, barely capable of holding their shape as you bite into them.

The name does not disappoint. These cookies have a delicate flavor and an even more delicate crumb, punctuated by orange and lemon here and there courtesy of a few teaspoons of finely grated zest. They are perfect, just perfect, with a cup of tea. And they look so pretty all lined up on their cooling rack, sugar coating glittering and beckoning.

But you see if I eat them all, then the cookie jar will be empty again. And I'd have to bake again.

I suppose worse things could happen. 


Adapted from "Better Homes and Gardens" (I think; when I cut recipes out of magazines I don't always remember from which publication they came)

1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. sugar, plus more for coating the cookies
2 1/2 t. orange zest
2 t. lemon zest
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal (I use coarse-ground because I love the texture, but feel free to use the more finely ground cornmeal)
1/4 t. kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/4 c. sugar, orange zest and lemon zest. Beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.

Sift the flour into a separate bowl. Add the cornmeal and salt and whisk to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl to gather the dough into a ball.

Using a teaspoon or a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, roll dough into 3/4-inch balls and place about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are slightly browned. Remove from oven and cool about 8 minutes on the baking sheets.

Place sugar on a plate or shallow dish and gently roll the still-warm cookies in the sugar to coat. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies. Store in an airtight container with plastic wrap between the layers of cookies.


Dianne said...

I've never seen a cookie made with cornmeal. These look fabulous!

Dianne said...

The cornmeal adds such a delightful texture and flavor...I'm totally loving these!

Thanks for reading!

ARLENE said...

Oh, I have to figure out the WW points on these. I love baked goods made with cornmeal. Giada has a recipe for a polenta almond cake that is exquisite. Your post reminded me of it. Uh, oh!

Anonymous said...

This is awesome! I have a surplus of cornmeal hanging around from dusting the anadama bread, and this would be way more interesting that cornbread. Yay!

Dianne said...

Arlene, they don't count. Zero WW points. (Yeah, right!) :) You're right -- baked goods with cornmeal are delicious and tempting.

Haleysuzanne, excellent! I used my leftover anadama cornmeal, too. Thanks for reading!

Laura said...

I would love these! And I could not agree more about having cookies in the house. And chocolate.

Jessie said...

this is the first time I've seen cookies made with cornmeal! they look so good and I have to agree with you I love cookies and chocolate as well lol I blame my sweet tooth

Dianne said...

Laura and Jessie, thanks!

Jessie, if you like the flavor and crunch of cornmeal, definitely give these cookies a shot. They are yummy -- your sweet tooth will be happy!

Sue said...

Don't eat out of this one.... it's mine!!!