Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:
I just love that it’s citrus season right now. It feels like such a treat to have so many varieties of bright oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits in all of the grocery stores in the middle of winter. (And by winter, I mean the Polar Vortex that I’m living vicariously through, because it’s been pretty nice here in California.) Citrus fruits lend themselves very well to baked goods because citrus zest packs a ton of flavor into a recipe without altering the hydration ratio of a recipe, whether the recipe is for waffles or cookies. Our Meyer lemon tree has already given us a prolific harvest this month, and we have more than a dozen lemons just waiting to be incorporated into dressings, sauces, and desserts.
These cookies are inspired by some that I bought from Amy’s Bread at the Chelsea Market in New York City a few years ago that had lime and cornmeal baked into a sugar cookie dough. The cookies were bright and sweet, but they had a nice crunch from the coarsely ground cornmeal that was a nice change from the traditionally tender butter cookies. By using lemon zest in this recipe instead of lime zest, the flavors are still slightly acidic and sharp, but without the bitterness from the limes. A final coating of lemon sugar incorporates a burst of lemon into every bite, and improves the aesthetics of an otherwise plain cookie. Whip up a batch of these next time you have a surplus of lemons, and you won’t go back to plain sugar cookies anytime soon.
Lemon Cornmeal Cookies
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies
Adapted from the Flour Bakery Cookbook
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup coarsely ground cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and beat on low speed for another minute, to allow the oils from the zest to perfume the dough. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 1 more minute until thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through to ensure even mixing.
- Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined and no flour streaks remain.
- In a shallow bowl or pie plate, rub the granulated sugar and lemon zest for the topping together with your fingers until the sugar is slightly moist, 30-60 seconds. This will be used as the coating for the cookies.
- Scoop 1 ½ tablespoons of the dough into balls and roll in the lemon sugar. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, and bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges of the cookie are a light golden brown and the center is still pale, yet set. Let sit on the baking sheets to cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.