Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cornmeal Cookies

Let me begin by saying, you've got to try these.  They are unexpectedly tasty.  Like a butter cookie, but different...special...delicious!
These little gems are perfect all on their own, but adding some glaze, frosting, or caramel is certainly good, too.  I've got to say, the caramels are my favorite.  The flavors are great together and the juxtaposition of the thin crunchy shell against the tender cookie is fabulous.
The cookie and caramel recipes are adapted from Martha Stewart.  The glazes are adapted from All Recipes.
These are quick and easy cookies to make and they're great little canvasses for adding your favorite flavors to.  Blueberry would be great - lemon would be superb!  Eat them as-is, try the flavors listed below, or use your imagination!  They've got the yum factor.

Cornmeal Cookies
Cookies & Caramel Adapted from Martha Stewart
Glaze Adapted from All Recipes

Cookies -
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup fine-ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sweetened, dried cranberries

Maple Glaze -
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp maple extract
1-2 tbsp water

Orange Glaze -
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp orange extract
2 tbsp water

Honey Butter Frosting -
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tbsp honey

Caramel -
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp water

1.  For the Cookies: preheat the oven to 350°.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and salt.  Set aside.

3.  Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat until light and fluffy.

4.  Beat the egg and vanilla into the butter mixture.  Stop, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, beat for 30 seconds longer.  *If making Cranberry-Orange Cookies, beat the zest and cinnamon in now.

5.  Add the flour mixture to the bowl.  Beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.  *If making Cranberry-Orange Cookies, add the dried cranberries now.

6. Scoop rounded teaspoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between each.  *If you are making the Caramel Cookies, move on to the next step now, otherwise proceed.  Use a pounder, measuring cup, or glass bottom to flatten the dough balls slightly (it is helpful to place a square of parchment or waxed paper over the dough to prevent sticking).

7.  Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the edges are golden.  Transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.

8.  For the Maple Glaze: combine the powdered sugar, maple syrup, maple extract, and 1 tbsp water in a medium bowl.  With a whisk or hand mixer, beat the ingredients until smooth.  Add a bit more water as needed to achieve a drizzling consistency.

9.  For the Orange Glaze: combine the powdered sugar, corn syrup, zest, orange extract, and  water in a medium bowl.  With a whisk or hand mixer, beat the ingredients until smooth.

10.  To Glaze: pour the glaze into a piping bag with small round tip OR into a ziptop bag, then cut the very corner off.  Pipe the glaze in quick stripes over the cookies.  Allow the glaze to set.  Serve!

11.  For the Honey Butter Frosting: combine the powdered sugar, butter, and honey in a medium bowl.  With a hand mixer, beat the ingredients until smooth and fluffy.  Scoop the frosting into a piping bag with round or flower tip OR into a ziptop bag with the corner cut off.  Pipe the frosting onto the cookies.  Serve!

12.  For the Caramel: get ready a heat-safe bowl - set aside.  Stir the sugar and water together in a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Wash the sides of the pan down with a pastry brush dipped in water.  When the mixture comes to a boil, remove the spoon/spatula.  Increase the heat to medium-high.  Cook, gently swirling the pan every so often, until the mixture turn light amber.  Immediately pour the mixture into the bowl.

13.  Working quickly, stab the bottom of a cookie with a toothpick.  Dip the top of the cookies into the hot caramel (be careful not to touch - it will burn).  Place the cookie, right-side up, on a rack to cool.  Repeat with the remaining cookies.  The bowl of caramel will begin to harden - if it becomes too thick, you can microwave it for a few seconds to warm it back up.  Allow the caramel to set.  Serve!

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