I’m planning a little series of Christmas cookie posts this month, loosely titled “The 12 Cookies of Christmas.” (For the most part, I have just been calling it that in my head since it’s such a cheesy title. Let’s not call it that out loud, okay?) Each of the twelve recipes will feature locally-sourced ingredients in a holiday-cookie-exchange-ready format. Get ready for beet whoopie pies, apple spice cookies, meyer lemon bars, and other holiday treats, just waiting to fill your Santa shaped cookie jar.
Rosemary’s sweet, pungent flavor and green needles remind me of Christmas trees, so when I was planning the series, I knew I wanted to kick things off with these crispy lemon rosemary cookies. The timing couldn’t be better since Meyer lemons are finally in season here in Austin. This recipe also features eggs from Ringger Farm and cornmeal from Homestead Gristmill, near Waco, Texas. The course texture of the Homestead’s cornmeal enhances these cookies’ crunch, and I find these cookies to be more flavorful than ones I’ve made with nationally distributed brands of cornmeal.
Rosemary Lemon Cornmeal Cookies (yields 32 cookies)
adapted from “Cornmeal Cookies,” by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley
Cooking Light, May 2008
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary needles
1 tablespoon grated Meyer lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet with silpat or baking parchment. (Don’t skip this. The finished cookies are very delicate and will lose their shape if they stick to the pan after cooking.)
In a small bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat softened butter, sugar, rosemary, lemon rind, and lemon juice until creamy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add egg and beat until well combined. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until just blended. Dough will be very soft.
Spoon dough by heaping teaspoons 2.5 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cookies will spread while cooking, so take care not to put dough too close to the edges of the baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 1/2 minutes, until lightly browned and almost firm. Remove from oven and cool on pans for 2 minutes or until firm. Remove firm cookies from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.