Monday, March 8, 2010

Lemon-Cornmeal Cookies

lemon cornmeal cookies

I never thought that anyone would have to teach me the "proper" way to slice a lemon. Infact, I didn't even think twice when the servers from restaraunts would come over and bring me my tea/water with a dainty little lemon slice perfectly placed upon the rim of my glass. It was almost like I just assumed they came that way. Like somewhere there was a lemon tree with presliced lemons or something. Okay, maybe that's going a bit out there... but really, I never even once considered that the people inside the kitchen actually sliced the lemons themselves. Or that there was a certain way you had to do it.

Until I became one of those servers and was told by my manager to go slice lemons for tea. At first I thought, "okay, whatever, slicing lemons... not that hard" and as I washed the lemons clean and placed them on a cutting board to slice, I sliced them right down the middle (first mistake) and then tried awkwardly slicing them in strips.

In other words, I had no idea what the heck I was doing.

lemon cornmeal cookies

Thankfully for me there was a nice man who saved me, though I still got a wild look from my manager later on when she walked in and saw me being taught how to slice a lemon ("you don't know how to slice a lemon!?") as if it was the most simple thing in the world. And now that I know how to do it, I realize that it probably is. Given the fact that you have common sense. Something I seem to lack in these situations.

Anywho, he taught me how to properly slice the lemons WITHOUT the danger of cutting off my fingers. He told me the trick is to hold the knife a certain way in which the blade rests against your fingertips as you move along slicing, therefore if you slip up accidentally the risk of you havings stubs for fingers is scarce. I wanted to give the man a hug, but I refrained, and kept slicing lemons. Soon I got them to be just like those dainty little slices you find on your glass.

I felt like a lemon-slicing pro. Like I could take on the world. Just the lemons, knife, and I. No tea anywhere would be without us.

Or, I guess, in this case, cookie.

Originally this recipe says to only use lemon zest, but I took the suggestion of the reviewers and added a nice little squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the batter. The difference? W-h-o-a! I can't even imagine what these cookies may have tasted like without the extra zip of juice, seeing as the cookies themselves were only lightly lemony tasting. Like a lemon bar in a crisp, very chewy cookie form.

One thing about them though is that they do, and will dry out, if kept at room temperature for too long. That, and if you leave these in your oven for too long, they can crisp up and burn real fast. So make sure you keep an eye on them. Especially if your oven tends to burn cookies. If you're super paranoid about it though, you can always put the cookie dough in the freezer a few minutes before popping it into the oven. This will help prevent burning, but it may also make your cookies "puff up" rather than spread.

lemon cornmeal cookies

These are delicious with a nice cup of espresso or just on their own as a light snack. The cornmeal especially gives them a distinct texture that I love. Give 'em a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Just don't skimp on the juice!

Lemon Cornmeal Cookies
(Adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 tsp or 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through ground ginger); stir with a whisk. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Scrape sides of the bowl occasionally. Add egg; beat well. Beat in grated lemon rind. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, and beat at medium-low speed just until blended.

3. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons batter 2 inches apart onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. (Note*: I rolled mine into 1 1/2 teaspoon balls with damp hands to keep from sticking, then sprinkled the cookies with a generous amount of granulated sugar, patting the cookies down very lightly before baking to get a more even spread and a crisp sugar coating). Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned underneath, almost firm around the edges but still slightly underbaked in the middle. Remove from oven. Cool on pans for 1-2 minutes or until firm. Remove from pans. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Yields 30 cookies.


Bev on March 8, 2010 at 8:52 AM said...

These look so yummy! Perfect for spring...yippee! Adorable post, made me smile.

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