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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gluten-Free Cornmeal Citrus Cookies

Gluten-Free has truly become the buzzword as of late. While Celiac disease is a very real thing, the fad of not eating anything with gluten has taken the nation by storm. While my own feelings on this matter shall remain unknown, you may know that one of my dearest friends cannot do gluten for medical reasons. We celebrated Lughnasadh yesterday, and I baked these for such that occasion. It seemed fitting, you see, with it being the holiday of the 1st harvest and all! So, here are some cookies for my dear friend, Witchy Words!

Cornmeal Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups masa/fine cornmeal/cornflour
  • 1/2 cup polenta/grits
  • 2 oz (1/2 a stick) butter(you can also do coconut oil), warmed and soft, but not quite melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed tight
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Zest and juice of 3 limes(or lemons)
    • The juice should equal 1/4 cup. If you don't have enough, just add a little water...it'll be fine
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
You can substitute the sugars for turbinado/raw sugar, substitute the egg for a dollop of pumpkin puree or 1 very ripe banana, if you would like...there are many ways to make this work for a special diet.

Practice good mise en place by gathering all of your ingredients first, then preheat your oven to 325 degreees F. Combine all of the dry ingredients. You can blitz them in a food processor, if you have one, which does improve the texture, but is unnecessary. Whip the butter in the bowl of your standing mixer with the paddle attachment, or with a wooden spoon if you don't have a standing mixer. Combine the sugars and add to the bowl, and beat until light and very fluffy. Add in the zest of your limes, now, too. 

Scrape down the bowl and add the egg, beating well until combined. Make sure your egg is completely incorporated before adding the dry ingredients. Add the dry stuff about 1/3 at a time, then mix to combine. The great thing about this particular recipe is that you don't have to worry too much about overmixing...no gluten! No tough cookies!

Add your citrus juice, which should have equaled about 1/4 cup of liquid. This will create a very moist cookie dough. Scoop and drop onto prepared sheet pans. 

Kolika's Special Tip:  For cookies, muffins, biscuits and brownies alike, I like to let the dough chill in the fridge until cool, about 20 minutes, and let the fat in the dough set. This creates an excellently flaky biscuit, a wonderfully moist muffin, or a delicious and gooey brownie. This will also give the cornmeal a chance to absorb the liquid and make your cookie nice and moist. If you like a bit of a dryer, more crumbly texture, though, go ahead and bake them now.

There are many ways you can finish this cookie. For example, you could drop the unbaked balls of batter into a bowl of granulated sugar, roll it around, and bake it like that to create a crackly sugar crust. You could also press a fork into each dough drop criss-cross style for a nice look. You can even bake a whole raspberry in the center of each cookie dough drop for an extra pop of color and fruit. This recipe is EXTREMELY versatile and you can do many things with it to change the flavor without really ruining it. 

Bake in the oven for about 9 minutes, then check for doneness. You might need more or less time, depending on your oven and the humidity in the area. Let these cookies cool COMPLETELY, as they are very crumbly when warm and will fall apart. You can also freeze them and make ice cream sandwiches out of them with some very good vanilla ice cream.

Happy baking and happy eating! 

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