Celebrating the Flavors of Summer: Cherry Cornmeal Pecan Cookies

Photo by Beverly Wang

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ C all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ C butter, room temperature
  • 1 C sugar
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C chopped, toasted pecans
  • 1 C tart dried cherries

Recently I attended a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Hollywood Bowl with a group of friends from high school. It was my first time at the bowl despite living in Southern California for most of my life, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to picnic in the hills surrounding the bowl prior to the performance. Naturally, I volunteered to bring some baked goods and dessert, and looked to create a portable dessert that captured the essence of summer picnics.

I turned to the Corn Cherry Scone (my favorite item from the Cheeseboard Collective, a wonderful bakery and pizza place in my old college stomping grounds of Berkeley, CA), as inspiration and modified a cookie recipe to imitate the flavors I found in Cheeseboard’s original recipe.* By modifying this excellent cookie recipe from Baking Bites; I was able to capture the flavors in Cheeseboard’s scone. What resulted was a buttery, chewy cookie that was tempered by the tartness of cherries and had an added crunch from the cornmeal. Pecans add a lovely nuttiness as well, but feel free to swap that out for your favorite nut or even chocolate for a more decadent cookie.

cherry cornmeal pecan cookies / recipe & photos by Beverly Wang / featured on dearestnature.com

cherry cornmeal pecan cookies / recipe & photos by Beverly Wang / featured on dearestnature.com

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

3. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until  thoroughly combined. With the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour gradually until the dough comes together, then stir in the pecans and cherries. Note that this cookie dough will be stiff. If you have a warm kitchen and find that your cookie dough is a bit slack, place it in the refrigerator to stiffen a bit before proceeding to shaping.

4. Using a 1 ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon, shape the dough into balls and place 2” apart on the baking sheet (I was able to fit a dozen to each sheet). Place into the oven and bake for approximately 12-14 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly brown, rotating the sheets in between. When done, take them out of the oven and allow them cool for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

cherry cornmeal pecan cookies / recipe & photos by Beverly Wang / featured on dearestnature.com

In hindsight, I do wish that the corn flavor of the cookies could be amplified bit more. Maybe next time, I will add some pulverized freeze-dried corn ala Momofuku Milk Bar’s Corn Cookies to see if I can boost the corn flavor. Please let me know if you try this! In any case, this cookie was well received and received a lot of compliments. I hope you bake these for those you care about as well. Enjoy!

Notes:

*See here for an excellent article about scone-making and a recipe of the original corn cherry scone

About Beverly Wang

Beverly is a web applications developer living in lovely Southern California. When she's not writing code, you'll probably find her in the kitchen or out capturing moments of her daily life with her camera. Never content to sit still, she always finds herself trying to do ten things at once. She believes that good food, made with love and from scratch, is the panacea for all ills.

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