Cooking Challenge – Cornmeal Cookies
The Tidings Cooking Challenge is an opportunity for food lovers to try their hand at creating something together. Not all in the same kitchen, of course. Rather, try the recipe in your own time and then come back and tell us what you thought of it. You can add your comments directly underneath the post, or send a photo of your creation to [email protected].
Cornmeal is a basically gritty corn flour. Italians (and those acquainted with Italian cuisine) know that it makes polenta. Cornmeal comes two ways — fine ground and coarse ground. Both work equally well for polenta. Both work equally well as a breading agent for shrimp or vegetables. Only one, fine ground, will work in these cookies. The fine texture of the cornmeal gives the cookie a very delicate, almost melt-in-your-mouth crumb. If you have a cookie press (the kind typically used to make German Spritz cookies) definitely dust it off for these cookies. The dough will hold the shape of flowers, stars or whatever other design your press features. If you don’t have one, no worries. Roll the dough out flat and using cookie cutters.
It’s tempting to turn these into gluten-free cookies by using only cornmeal. I haven’t tried doing that, myself, so I can’t advise you for or against it. If you do try it, let me know how it works out. I would, however, suggest using chestnut flour, chickpea flour, rice flour or a combination of flours to achieve the result that wheat flour would give you. The wheat flour adds gluten, providing the cookie with just the right elasticity so that it’s not too crumbly. But, I know that using some combination of these gluten-free flours will lend the cookies depth of flavour that using cornmeal alone probably wouldn’t. When substituting wheat flour, start out by using the same quantity (1-1/2 cups in this case). Make sure you have extra flour on hand. Sometimes, gluten-free flours don’t soak up the liquid as well, and you might find yourself needing to add more flour until the dough reaches a thicker consistency.
Makes about 24 small cookies
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg yolks and vanilla; beat until smooth.
2. In another bowl, mix flour, cornmeal and baking powder. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Combine well.
3. Place dough in a cookie press or roll it out with a rolling pin.
4. Bake in a 350°F oven until edges are lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to cooling racks.