Sunday, May 4, 2014

Eats: A Tale Of Two Cookies

Hello! Had recently volunteered to make six dozen cookies for a local event, which meant a pleasant perusal of recipes from my various sources. It's the sort of occasion that seemed to call for a more genteel cookie than the usual kind I bake, which is chocolate chip with a bunch of other goodies tossed in. 

I eventually settled upon the recipes for these two cookies:

Top, a Brown-Eyed Susan Cookie and below, a Crispy Cornmeal Sugar Cookie. Both recipes are courtesy of Marcia Adams' New Recipes From Quilt Country.

The recipe for Crispy Cornmeal Sugar Cookies:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sugar and grated nutmeg, for topping

In a mixer bowl, combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and zest and mix well. Stir in the flour, cornmeal, and salt and combine thoroughly. Refrigerate the dough (see Note) for 3 to 4 hours, until firm. 

Preheat the oven to 350. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into shapes using a 2 1/2-inch cutter. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle the cookies liberally with sugar and nutmeg. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are browned. Remove to a rack to cool, then store in an airtight container. Makes 30 cookies.

NOTE: The dough may also be rolled into a 2-inch cylinder before chilling and cut into rounds about 1/4-inch thick before baking. 

My notes: I did follow the above note and shaped the dough into a cylinder on a large piece of waxed paper, then rolled the waxed paper around the dough to cover. Popped the whole thing in a plastic bag and refrigerated it overnight. It didn't need that much chilling time, I'm sure; I just felt like waiting until the next day to bake them! 

Perhaps I made my cylinder smaller than Ms. Adams had specified, for I got 52 cookies. Since I needed a total of six dozen that was fine with me. And I used cinnamon instead of nutmeg, because I like the taste of it better. 

And speaking of taste, these are buttery-rich, with just a hint of lemon flavor. The texture is a bit grainy due to the cornmeal, but that was fine. 

While these are good, I liked the second cookie even better:

Brown-Eyed Susans

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt


1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

48 whole almonds

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the extracts. Add the flour and salt and mix well. 

Using a cookie scoop or your hands, lightly shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly using the bottom of a glass. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and cool the cookies completely before frosting. 

To prepare the frosting: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa. Add the hot water and vanilla; mix well. Frost each cookie and top with an almond. Store in an airtight container, using wax paper or plastic wrap between layers. These also freeze very well. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Notes: Since the oven temperature was the same for both recipes, I made up the dough for the Brown-Eyed Susans while the Crispy Cornmeal Sugar Cookies were baking. I stashed that dough in the refrigerator until I was ready for it. 

Since I liked the taste of almond extract so much, I increased its 
amount to 1 1/2 teaspoons. But to balance that extract, I also increased the vanilla to 1 1/2 teaspoons as well. 

I'm sure the whole almond atop each cookie would have been pretty, but since not everyone likes nuts, I left them off. 

I got 34 cookies instead of the supposed yield of 4 dozen; I must have shaped my cookie balls a little larger than specified. 

I liked these a lot - nice little buttery, almnond-y morsels, and the chocolate frosting is a nice touch. One reason why I decided to make these cookies was Ms. Adams' comment about them: "...these disappear very quickly from the cookie tray". 

I won't be at the event to see them disappear, but I wouldn't be surprised if her comment turned out to be true! 

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