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Cornmeal Cranberry Cookies
May 23, 2010, 1:51 pm
Filed under: desserts, recipes | Tags: , , ,

I’m working my way through Kim Boyce’s new baking cookbook, Good to the Grain. As the former pastry chef at Campanile in LA, she brings a sophistication to baking with whole grain flours. This is exactly what I want in a baking book: whole grains for pleasure instead of whole grains for guilt. If you bake at all, you will need to spend some time with this book.

These cornmeal cookies are big, rich, and flavorful. The solid floor of corn flour, cornmeal, and brown sugar in the dough creates a rich taste that reminds me of a peanut butter cookie.

Kim’s original cookie recipe call for dried blueberries, but I switched to dried cranberries because they were more affordable ($4.60 per pound versus $14.99). Because the dried cranberries are larger than the blueberries, I roughly chopped them with a big Chinese cleaver.

I usually keep medium or coarse cornmeal in my pantry for making polenta, but a finer grain cornmeal is called for here. A coarser cornmeal would make the cookies gritty.

CORNMEAL CRANBERRY COOKIES

butter for the pans

DRY MIX:
2 cups corn flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

WET MIX:
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

FINISH:
1/2 cup sugar

METHOD:
Place 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350F. Rub 2 baking sheets with butter.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter. Set aside.

Add the butter and the brown sugar to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to low speed and mix until the butter and sugar are combined, then increase the mixer speed to medium and cream for 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is combined. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend on low speed until the flour is barely combined, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Add the milk and the cranberries. Slowly mix until the dough is evenly combined.

Pour the finishing sugar into a bowl. Scoop mounds of dough, each about 3 tablespoons in size, form them into balls, and set them aside on a plate. Dip each ball into the sugar, and coating it lightly. Arrange the balls on the baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between them.

The balls of dough that don’t fit on this round of baking can be dipped in the sugar and chilled.

Bake the cookies for 20-22 minutes, rotating the sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through. The cookies will puff and crack at the tops and are ready to come out when the sugar crust is golden brown and the cracks are still faintly yellow.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

These cookies are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day. They’ll keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.