Tuesdays with Dorie: Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

4/26/11



It's been almost two years since this blog posted it's first little blurb! I think it was about a cup of hot cocoa on a grey January day. The photo was terrible, the writing was dull, and it was a hot mess of run-on sentences and misplaced commas. Since then I've learned that good things happen when you turn off the camera flash and allow yourself to write as though you're having a conversation at a food-filled table surrounded by friends. I still throw commas around like confetti, so that hasn't changed. But even though those pesky little technical details of writing have not flourished (much) in two years, my culinary skills certainly have, and I owe a huge part of that to being a member of Tuesdays with Dorie.



Laurie, the genius behind Tuesdays with Dorie, and all the other members are simply amazing. I never thought I could feel so attached to a group of people I've never even met. And of course Dorie Greenspan herself has played a huge part in the progression of my baking abilities and ever-increasing confidence in crust making (something I failed miserably at just 2 years ago.) But when it was my turn to pick a recipe, I wanted to chose something that was not only simple, but had a quirky ingredient that takes a traditional recipe up a few notches. Who knew that cornmeal would shine in shortbread? Well, I kind of figured it would. You see, I was not a fan of cornmeal until we actually introduced ourselves properly. Now I love the texture and hearty flavour it lends to sweets.

These cookies are highly addictive. I accidentally used salted butter and 'forgot' to omit the called for salt. But since I'm a saltaholic, I didn't complain. Shortbread cookies are delicious even without any help from lemons, limes or cornmeal. But the cornmeal gives the buttery cookies this pleasant tiny, crunchy, grittiness that keeps you going back for 'just one more.' The only other change I made to the recipe was replacing the lemon zest with lime. Lemons, I still love you, but I've been on a lime kick lately. And cornmeal shortbread just seemed to be calling out for some lime love. This is an easy, delicious recipe that's perfect for an early Spring cook out (if you're lucky enough to live somewhere that actually knows it's Spring.) And because it contains limes, something I've always been comfortable working with, and cornmeal, an ingredient I'm still adjusting to, I think it was the perfect pick for my Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, because it's all about stepping outside our comfort zone without feeling like we're going to trip on the last step. (And yes, I still want to cook on the Northwestern.) Does the period go before or after the parenthesis? :D

Check out the other TWD bakers too!


Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies
(recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan's magical book, Baking: From My Home to Yours) Print

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon (I used 3 limes)
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted, room temperature butter
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, or 1/2 teaspoon of pure almond extract

Method
In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the cornmeal, and set the mixture aside.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and extract to the bowl and, using either your stand mixers paddle attachment or whisk, or a hand mixer, beat on medium speed until the mixture is very smooth (about 3 minutes).
Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until the flour streaks have disappeared into the dough (do not over-mix).
Using a rubber spatula, transfer the dough (which will be soft and sticky) into a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag.
Leaving the top open, place the bag on a flat surface and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2-inch rectangle that's about 1/4-inch thick. Be sure you don't roll all the way to the open end of the bag, you want to still be able to close it. As you are rolling the dough, turn the bag occasionally to prevent creasing.
Pressing out as much air as possible, seal the bag and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours. The sealed dough will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Getting ready to bake:
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds. Preheat the oven to 350F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silplat mats.
Place the dough-filled plastic bag on a cutting board, slit it open, and discard the bag. Using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the prepared baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork (be sure the tines go all the way through to the baking sheet).
Place the baking sheets in the oven and immediately lower the oven temperature to 300F. Bake the cookies for 25-30 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time. The cookies should be set and just slightly golden.
Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.

Makes 32 cookies

44 comments:

Katrina said...

Love these cookies, Valerie. Great pick, thanks! And yours look fantastic, as always.
Love that you added lime. I'll have to try that sometime. These ARE very addicting and hard to stay away from.
And I think (so don't quote me) that if it is a full sentence IN parenthesis, you put the punctuation inside and if it's just a phrase (like this), you would put it on the outside, even if the part in parenthesis is the last part of the sentence. And I'll shut up now, since I'm not 100% sure, that's just my understanding. ;)

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Cornmeal and lime are a match made in heaven. I used lemon this time, but will try lime the next. Great reasons for a great pick - your blog is beautiful, Valerie, and shows the hard work you've put into it. (and I say put the period wherever you want it!)

Cakelaw said...

Thanks for this pick Valerie - they tastes great. Your cookies turned out just perfect - mine were a little thin, bur still tasted good.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful shortbreads! That is something I adore.

Cheers,

Rosa

Judy said...

These are addictive little cookies. I used grapefruit zest for a change, and they turned out beautifully. Thanks for a delicious choice.

mike509 said...

Valerie, Happy pre-Second Blogversary! Terrific host post and choice for TWD! I loved the texture the cornmeal gave these. I just wish mine looked like shortbread - as yours truly does. Lime is a great sub. You've definitely captured the shortbread and tea/coffee essence - beautiful photos!

Peggy said...

This was a great pick and so easy to make. Yours look perfect. Please check mine out and tell me where I went wrong. Mine turned into one big cookie in the oven!! I would love to make them again and have them look like yours.

cindy said...

Such a beautiful cookie--I will make them soon.

Beth said...

Great recipe choice, Valerie! I'm looking forward to trying these with either lemon or lime. (Maybe once with each.) (Note the period inside the parentheses.) Congratulations on getting to choose the recipe, and I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for your dream job on the Northwestern.

Stephanie said...

You made a great selection. Thank you for hosting!

Joy said...

Gorgeous photos! Thanks for the pick!

Jules Someone said...

I went with lime as well! Love how it blends with the cornmeal. These were excellent. Thanks for the pick!

spike. said...

I love commas too (and parenthesis)! Great recipe and lovely pictures. I really enjoyed these!

natalia said...

Ciao Valerie , thanks for the great pick. I followed your advice and used lime...yummy !

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Loved these, Valerie! Great choice... and great photos, too! :)

Jess @ Sugar High said...

These look so delicious, Valerie! The addition of lime sounds so refreshing. :)

Karen said...

These were so tasty! Thanks for a fun pick this week! I love your photo with the little gift of cornmeal cookies!! :)I love baking with you!

alvarosa said...

Thanks a lot for picking this great recipe! I think it's the best shortbread I ever made!

Jennifurla said...

Seems like one I need to try, gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Today I found your blog thru TWD, and I spent an hour going thru the archives. I must say not only are your recipes wonderful, your photos are extraordinary. In fact, I've put some of your links on TWD recipes I've saved, because your photos are better. Keep up the great work!

Martha in KS

Tia said...

great pick! loved them, and yours look totally wonderful as usual!
Buttercreambarbie

Caroline said...

Thanks for a great pick! I would never have tried these but I really liked them!

Valerie said...

Hi Anon,
Thank you so much for the lovely comments! :D

Mary said...

This was a great pick! We did cornmeal/orange at my house but I love the idea of cornmeal and lime. It sounds like the Flour Bakery Cornmeal Lime cookie...also addictive and sandy. I really enjoy your blog...it is so visually beautiful and makes me hungry!

Lauryn said...

loved these!! Yours really look gorgeous! I love reading your blog! Your gorgeous photos and fun stories always make me smile!! xoxo

Tracey said...

Hi Valerie! Thanks for hosting this week and for a fun pick. I used lime too, and agree that it was nice in combination with the cornmeal. Great shots, your cookies look perfect!

jillbert said...

I keep going back for one more! Thanks for the great pick - I'm always up for making cookies!

Criollobylisa said...

I loved the crunch! Great selection!

margot said...

Excellent choice and beautiful photos! I like cornmeal, so I had been curious about this recipe for a while and they are really good!

Clivia said...

Loved this recipe! Thanks for choosing it. Your photos are amazing!

Barbara said...

Interesting to use cornmeal in a shortbread cookie! These look really good.

Happy two year blogoversary, Valerie!

Nicole said...

I probably wouldn't have tried this recipe, but since you chose it I am so glad that I did. These were so buttery and addicting! Thanks for such a great pick.

Jacque said...

Lovely post! I really enjoyed these, thanks for a great pick.

Mary said...

Beautiful cookies, Valerie! I used orange in mine, and loved the taste, but I'll definitely try these again with fine cornmeal. Congratulations on 2 years of gorgeous food!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

yes, lime was definitely a good call! thanks for the pick-- we liked these a lot. and btw, it's hard to believe you ever took a bad photo...i'll have to peek back thru your archives!

sara @ CaffeIna said...

I've been meaning to try these cookies for a long time so I'm glad I read this post and found out that they really are as good as they sound. And from your pictures they also look beautiful!

TeaLady said...

These are my favorite shortbreads so far because of the cornmeal. I loved the texture and extra crunch they added.

Love the blue ribbon 'package'.

Thanks for this pic.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Great pick Valerie! Understated, yet gorgeous. Looks amazing, can't wait to try it!

jennybaby said...

ALl your baking looks so tasty!
I made a summer fruit, white chocolate cheesecake with a shortbread base.
If you have time please take a look~

http://jujujenny.blogspot.com/search/label/My%20Baking

~juju

★JENN★ said...

I just made the dough for this last night, and the cookies are in the oven as I type this. They looked gorgeous going in, I hope they look just as good coming out :)

I had to improvise combining some lemon zest with lemon juice (not enough lemon)...and I may have accidentally used a SUPER coarse cornmeal..I hope no one loses a tooth when they bite into them!

(found this recipe via Tracey's Culinary Adventures)

Christy said...

I found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to make them today. Such an easy recipe to put together. I just pulled the first batch out of the oven and had a taste test. Fantastic!! My husband is obsessed with lime and he has declared them his new favorite cookie. Cannot wait to take them to school tomorrow and have the teachers try them out. Yum!

Valerie said...

Hi Christy,
I'm so glad that you and your husband like the cookies! Hopefully everyone else will love them too...or not (more for you). :D

The Stairdweller said...

I am very impressed with these cookies. I've been looking for a perfect cornmeal shortbread recipe for years now, and this one made the cookies of my dreams. Thanks so much!

I made mine by rolling the dough out and using cookie cutters, instead of the ziplock bag method you used, and they kept their shapes beautifully (I used snowflakes.) For anyone making cutout cookies, I'd recommend one tinsey change - bake them for about 15-20 minutes, 25 on the upside if the cookies are very thick.

Valerie said...

I bet these cookies looked adorable as snowflakes!

Thanks for the tips, this time of year, everyone loves a cut-out cookies. :D

 

une gamine dans la cuisine All rights reserved © Blog Milk - Powered by Blogger