Cornmeal cookies

December 27, 2009 at 10:53 pm (Alice Medrich, C (1 star, edible), Cookies, Dessert, Necessarily nonvegan)


Derek wanted to make almond crescent cookies, but we didn’t have enough almonds, or his mom’s recipe.  We decided to try these delicate cornmeal cookies instead.  The recipe is from Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts by Alice Medrich.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups sifted all purpose flour (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbs. nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Stir flour, cornmeal, and salt together with a wire whisk to combine.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy.  Add sugar and beat at high speed for about 1 minute, or until mixture loses its crumbly texture and begins to form a mass.  Beat in the egg yolk, yogurt, and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until combined.  Scrape bowl and beater.  Knead the mixture briefly with your hands to mix thoroughly.
  3. Tear off a piece of wax paper about 14 inches long.  Gather the dought together and form it, lengthwise on the paper, into a neat 9- to 10-inch cylinder about 1 3/4 inches in diameter.  Wrap securely i the paper.  Fold or twist the ends of the paper, trying not to pinch or flatten the ends of the log.  Chill for at least 1 hour, or until needed.  Dough may be prepated to this point and refrigerated for up to 3 days or rewrapped in foil or plastic and frozen for up to 3 months.
  4. Position the racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  5. Use a sharp knife to slice dough into rounds about 1/8 inch thick.  You should get about 75 cookies.  Place slices 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown at the edges.  Rotate sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through the baking time.  Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a rack.  Cool cookies completely before stacking or storing.  Cookies may be stored, airtight, for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 2 months.

Work time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Bake time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed:  2 heavy cookie sheets.
Nutrition information: 25 calories per cookie, 26% of calories from fat.

My notes:

Medrich says these cookies are “almost austere in their simplicity”, and that’s a pretty good description. They’re very simple cookies, reminding me a little of a crunchy, not too rich, shortbread.  I couldn’t really taste the corn flavor, although the texture did have a little bit of that gritty cornmeal texture.   My cornmeal wasn’t the best though–just something I bought at the Turkish store.  I’m sure the corn flavor would shine through if they were made with really fresh, stone-ground cornmeal.  The texture is firm but not extremely crispy.  These cookies might be nice to serve as part of an afternoon tea spread, kind of like biscotti.  Although this recipe worked just fine, there are so many delicious cookies out there that I’m not sure I’d make these again, at least without some modifications.  Rating: B-.

I think these cookies would make great cookie sandwiches, if only I could find the right filling to go between them.  I tried peanut butter, but that overwhelmed the delicate flavor.  Then I tried a bunch of spices to see if one would mesh well without overpowering the cookies.  I think that ginger powder was the best of the bunch, although black pepper was also intriguing.  Derek thinks that if we make them again we should put in a little minced jalepeno, to go with the corn.  Then we could use tomato jam to make them into cookie sandwiches, and serve them as a little amuse bouche!

Derek says they have good corn flavor, but he thinks the texture is not right.  The cookies after cooling ended up a little hard, but also a little chewy.  He thinks they should be either crispy or chewy, but not halfway in between.  He also thinks the flavor is a little too simple. He enjoys them enough to eat the ones we’ve made, but not enough to recommend making them.  Derek’s rating: B-.

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