We love rich, buttery shortbread-style cookies, but sometimes we want something a little more unique in terms of both flavor and texture to accompany our afternoon tea. These cornmeal-enhanced cookies fit the bill: They’re a bit rustic, with a substantial texture from the addition of cornmeal to a basic shortbread dough. Besides introducing a pleasant grit to the short-and-sandy base cookie, the cornmeal imparts a warm, round, buttery-sweet flavor. We found that a 2:3 ratio of cornmeal to all-purpose flour provided big corn flavor without compromising the cookie’s structure. These cookies were satisfying, but we wanted to introduce another flavor to complement the cornmeal, so we paired it with aromatic orange zest, which contributed subtle floral notes and a welcome burst of citrus. Just 1 teaspoon of orange zest provided plenty of citrus infusion without overshadowing the buttery corn flavor. Do not reroll the scraps more than once; it will cause the cookies to be tough. Do not use coarse-ground cornmeal for this recipe. This recipe yields a lot of cookies because the hardy stackable rounds hold up well for travel or being packaged and gifted.
- Yield: 84 cookies
- 1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (5 ounces) cornmeal
- 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (7 ounces) superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Whisk flour and cornmeal together in bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter, sugar, orange zest, and salt on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolk, then add whole egg and vanilla and continue to beat until well incorporated. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
- Transfer dough to counter and divide into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into disk, wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll 1 disk of dough ¼ inch thick on lightly floured counter, using offset spatula to loosen dough as needed to prevent it from sticking. Using 2-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into shapes; space shapes evenly on prepared sheets.
- Bake cookies until evenly golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cookies cool completely before serving.