Monthly Archives: March 2013

Lemon Polenta Cookies

To glaze or not to glaze? That was, in the end, the question.

And, with apologies to Shakespeare, it was a far tastier one.

Lemon Polenta Cookies II

It started with some Lemon Polenta Cookies and an overachieving lemon that gave off copious amounts of juice – far more than necessary for the recipe. It developed when I remembered once seeing a recipe for a different lemon cookie featuring a glazed top — all smooth and pale white, just hinting at the lemon flavour. And it culminated with me mixing up just a bit of a glaze, enough to use up the last of the juice – waste not, want not, after all – and drizzle some of it over a handful of cookies to see which were tastier.

I was first attracted to this recipe after discovering, to my dismay, that I have three packages of finely ground cornmeal in my cupboard – the product of forgetting I have some, buying more and then forgetting again. I had been through a cornbread phase, followed by an actual made-from-scratch polenta phase. And then those bags were forgotten about until a fit of not-quite-spring cleaning.

(Truly, if there is a zombie apocalypse, please come to my apartment. My overly stocked cupboards should keep us fed for the first few months.)

The idea of adding cornmeal to a cookie was intriguing. The result didn’t disappoint.

The addition of cornmeal gives them a slight heartiness, a nuttiness and a nice texture, even though they’re still soft and chewy in the centre.

The zest and lemon juice add lots of bright flavour and the whole recipe comes together quickly.

Unadorned, they were lovely. But there was all that leftover, freshly squeezed and strained juice just asking to be made into a glaze.

So, a glaze I made, drizzling it thickly over the cookies and letting it coat the nubbly surface.

Friends were divided on which they preferred.

As one said, when there is a chance to glaze, the answer is always to glaze.

Another disagreed, noting the plain version of the cookie had a crunchier top, which was preferable.

I ate both – possibly a few times – and still remain completely divided.

Surely, the only solution is to try yourself and see which you prefer.

Lemon Polenta Cookies I

Lemon Polenta Cookies

  • ½ cup (125 mL) finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 ½ cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
  • ½ t (2 mL) salt
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (250 mL) sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour and salt. Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and juice, mixing until incorporated. Beat in the egg.

Add the cornmeal mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 1 minute or less.

Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto cookie sheets, allowing room for them to spread a bit.

Bake until just golden at the edges, between 14 and 18 minutes, depending on the size of the dough balls.

Makes 18 to 20 cookies.

 

Optional Glaze

  • ¼ cup (60 mL) icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon juice until completely incorporated. Drizzle over cookies.

This should be enough to glaze about half the cookies.

 

Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Things have been roller coaster-ish in the last couple of weeks. Some pretty good highs, some devastating lows.

And, while I’m not one to advocate drinking away your sorrows, suffice to say that there were a couple of nights when I got home from work and really felt like I could use a cocktail.

Bourbon Old-Fashioned I

Lately, I’ve been loving the classic Bourbon Old-Fashioned. I had a couple at National back in December, raising a few eyebrows among the group I was with.

“That smells like my dad’s liquor cabinet,” said one friend after taking a sniff.

She may have a point, but I really love this cocktail. So, since then, I’ve kept ordering them. Like at Charcut a couple of weeks ago.

Later, out of curiousity, I looked up the recipe and saw how easy they are to make.

So when the cocktail urge struck, I bought a bag of ice, made some simple syrup and stirred myself a drink.

Bourbon Old-Fashioned III

Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Typically, the recipe calls for straight orange, but I happened to have a couple of blood oranges lying around, so I used slices of that. Of course, use what you have on hand. Although I usually have Maker’s Mark, I recently bought a bottle of Buffalo Trace, which I’m enjoying a lot.

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 orange slice
  • splash of soda water
  • ice cubes
  • 2 1/2 fl. oz. bourbon

In a double old-fashioned glass (or, in my case, whatever glass I have lying around that is clean), combine the sugar cube, bitters, orange slice and soda water and muddle together. Add a handful of ice cubes, then the bourbon. Stir well.

Makes 1 drink.