During the holidays, maybe you like to have sweets, but you don’t want to offer your children and the rest of your family cookies that are overly sweet. I have lemony cornmeal shortbread cookies for you.
I started with Ginger’s Cornmeal Cookies recipe from the Iroquois White Corn Project based in upstate New York. They grow, process, and sell heirloom Haudenosaunee corn. This isn’t white sweet corn but the corn used for masa, corn tortillas, grits, and hominy. This is not instant cornmeal, either. This is corn that takes a while to cook. This is the best kind of slow food.
Cornmeal and corn flour offers a great alternative for those who cook gluten free. This recipe, however, is not gluten free. This is a basic shortbread recipe that replaces 1/4 of the wheat flour with cornmeal. This particular cornmeal is rough-cut, giving the cookies a lovely crunch. Also, the roasted corn flour from the Iroquois White Corn Project has an amazing nutty smell. Try it, and you’ll want to find more and more recipes where you can substitute corn flour for wheat flour.
My version of the recipe keeps the ingredients but changes the way the cookies are shaped and baked. I used my grandmother’s old candy dish to press stars into the cookies, since I plan to give them as gifts. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), it took less than a day for these cookies all to go missing. Each of the cookie thieves in my family have offered their own explanation, including my husband wondering whether there is some kind of mystery, “mawish” chemical in the cardamom. (Which he tells me means one can’t stop eating it. Likely story. Maybe it’s a British thing.) I now need to make a double batch and hide them so I can give them to neighbors.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Roasted Iroquois White Corn Flour
1/2 tsp of salt
2/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
Zest of one organic lemon
1/ tsp ground cardamom
- Prepare heavy cookie sheet by greasing and lightly flouring. Butter papers provide enough grease.
- In a medium bowl, mix flours, salt, and cardamom; set aside.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and lemon zest; beat until smooth. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
- Use teaspoon or melonballer to scoop 1″ ball of cookie dough. Flatten each ball to a disk shape about 1 1/2″ across and 1/2″ high. Using the bottom of a crystal wine glass or any cut crystal, lightly floured, press shape into cookie disk until about 3/8″ high and set onto cookie sheet.
- Chill cookies on cookie sheet for 2-3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Bake until edges are golden, 20-21 minutes.
- Transfer cookies immediately to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Full disclosure: I’m a volunteer on the Iroquois White Corn Project. Over the past 16 years, I’ve worked with this version of the project as well as with the original project based in western New York. I’m very excited that we have this great corn available again.