These cookies have been a labor of love. I originally got the idea when I first started making my cornmeal crust. I started thinking to myself... boy, wouldn't this be a great combo for a cookie. And, thus, the task was born. I made my first variation the week before Christmas and was encouraged but a little disappointed in the result, so I made a second batch. I then packed the cookies up in separate bags to take with me to Christmas in Illinois. Strangely, I found that I ended up liking the first batch better once they had a few days to sit in a bag. They were crisp and had an interesting texture... almost like a cross between a cookie and a cracker. My inital attempts saw the dough being prepared like a pie crust.
Then, I thought I would go back and try that first recipe I used again. They were fine, but they didn't inspire me. I thought they might be better in a few days again, but unfortunately, the idea of having to wait a few days to fully enjoy any cookie I might make just ain't right. So, off I went back to the drawing board. (By the way, a few days later they were really good... I think I'll post that recipe in the future, too, as I can't make up my mind which I like best).
Anyhow, I kept thinking about how the cookie I was imagining in my mind was a lot like a sugar cookie, crisp and delicate, but with a nice hint of lemon and an interesting textural addition from the cornmeal. I figured if I wanted it to be like a sugar cookie, I should just try modifying my favorite sugar cookie recipe. The end result is fabulous! What do you know, trial and error are effective!
I used the large grained sanding sugar because it was all I had on hand, but I think they'd be much better with finer grained sanding sugar, although there was something nice about that added cruch.
Lemon Cornmeal Cookies
Yield: 80-100 - 2 1/2" by 1 1/2" cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp real lemon extract
zest of one lemon
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking soda
Cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, extract, and zest and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet and mix just until combined. Dump out onto the counter and pat into a 1 1/2 to 2 inch in diameter log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly flour a board and, using a covered rolling pin, roll out about 1/8 inch thick. You can use cookie cutters or cut using a pizza or rotary ravioli cutter (for prettier edges) into rectangles. Transfer to a parchement lined baking sheet. Leave 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch between cookies. Sprinkle with sanding sugar (or table sugar).
Bake at 375 until raised and slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container up to 10 days. Dough may be refrigerated up to a week before baking or frozen up to six months.