Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not-So-Warm-Weather Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

Normally around this time of year, I like to start bringing out the Springtime recipes: those that involve citrus flavors, light whips, and creamy textures. Though it's still a bit early for the various fresh fruit cakes and cobblers and pies, there are other culinary ways to invite Spring into my kitchen. However, despite the fact that the first day of Spring was about one week ago, I'm having some difficulty feeling it around me. The air is still chilly, and the perpetually gray Seattle sky reminds me more of New England winters than the impending Pacific Northwest Spring. I've awoken to frost a couple of times in the past week (granted, it was very early in the morning), and I still have my scarf wrapped around my neck. On the other hand, there are other more visual signs of Spring that are evident all around: cherry blossoms are opening up, giving me a gorgeous burst of pink amongst the green when I look out my window. Daffodils are offering their sunny, yellow hue just about everywhere. And honestly, the cold cannot be that bad: I've seen purple crocus in the ground since late February.

So the temperature may be one thing, but the slow and steady blooming to life of the urban natural all around me is quite another. In this spirit, I wanted to try a Spring recipe, using one of my favorite warm weather flavors, lemon. These cornmeal cookies are from the pages of Cooking Light, but I could not discern anything light or Spring-like about them; the oils used make them a heavier, slightly greasy cookie, which I'm not at all partial to. The lemon taste, however, seems right to me, neither too overwhelming to be bitter, nor too slight. And the cornmeal does add an interesting texture which I believe adds to its density, but is precisely what makes the cookie a bit out of the ordinary.

Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup light-colored corn syrup
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 large egg whites
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
3. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add oil, syrup, rind, and egg whites, beating until blended. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat well. Drop dough by level tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Place baking sheet on a wire rack; cool completely.

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