Friday, February 03, 2006

Cranberry Citrus Cornmeal Cookies

I would have been tempted to simply call these "Alliterative Cookies", were it not for the fact that alliterative does not start with the letter "c". I like the way the current name just rolls of the tongue, though I will admit that I spent a bit of time switching the order of the words around.
This is an adaptation of a recipe found in the Holiday 2005 issue of Food&Drink magazine, one of my favorites, which was generously sent to me by Randi. The recipe was from an article entitled "Nine Ways the Cookie Crumbles" that has three main dough recipes and three variations on each, for a total of nine. I love versatile recipes (not to mention cookies in general), so this was definately the logical place for me to start in the magazine.
The dough starts as a simple sugar cookie, with brown sugar in place of some of the white, making the cookie moist and giving it a slight chew. In addition to flour, the cookie has a fair bit of cornmeal. I added more citrus and cornmeal than the recipe called for, reducing the flour slightly, and as I knew in advance that the dough would be very crumbly, I added a bit of lemon juice as well. The extra juice still doesn't make for a moist dough, so it should be rested before your try to work with it. This will give the moisture in the dough time to disperse evenly. I found the crumblyness of the dough made if difficult to roll out, as the original recipe suggested, but I loved the result when I baked the cookies in rounded domes.
The final cookies had a texture reminiscent of a Melting Moment (aka Mexican Wedding Cookie), which is nut-rich, moist and smoothly melting in the center. Of course, the "3-c" cookies had much more texture due to the cornmeal and lacked nuts entirely, but the slight melting quality of the cookie's center combined with the crisp outer edge was wonderful. They are buttery, with a light citrus flavor and a delicious tang from the cranberries.

Cranberry Citrus Cornmeal Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp orange zest
2 cups ap flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in egg, followed by vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest and orange zest.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking power and salt. Working in two or three additions, mix flour mixture into butter mixture by hand or with a mixer at low speed. Dough will be crumbly. Stir in cranberries.
Press dough down with your hands, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Shape into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cookies will not spread very much at all, so there is not need to leave a lot of space.
Bake for 12-14 minutes at 350F, until just browned on the bottom edge.
Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes 3 dozen.