French Cornmeal Cookies
We all know about the French macaron and Proust's by now clichéd madeline. But these little cookies don't even approach the macron's fussiness, or the madeline's smooth refinement. They have that wonderful, almost grainy texture from the cornmeal, while the lemon zest brightens their buttery flavor.
In Bruce Healy's fantastic The French Cookie Book, they're described as a rare cookie, hailing from the Bresse region of southern Burgundy. Traditionally shaped like tiny ears of corn, I didn't have the necessary pastry tip, and used a cookie press to shape the dough into little flowers, perfect for spring. The recipe doesn't make a ton. Just enough for an afternoon treat for a couple of people with no will power on a sunny, if too-cold, afternoon. Enjoy.
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large egg yolks
Grated zest of 1 medium lemon
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
7 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon yellow cornmeal
Oven preheated to 475F
In a small stainless steel bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon, placing it over low heat if necessary, until it's smooth, creamy and lightened in color. Sift the sugar over the butter and continue to beat. Next, beat in one yolk, still with the wooden spoon, then the next yolk, this time beating it with a wire whisk. Whisk in the lemon zest. Sift the flour and cornmeal into the batter, and using the wooden spoon, mix them in.
Scoop the batter into a cookie press or just spoon it in small balls onto a baking sheet prepared with a layer of parchment paper. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for about 5 minutes. The bottoms should be browned, but the tops still a light, buttery yellow. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy.