December 26, 2009

Cranberry-clementine cornmeal thumbprints

This is the last Christmas cookie I will write about for this season. I found this recipe in the December 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. These cookies turned out pretty good, though not my favorite cranberry and cornmeal based Christmas cookie I've ever had. I changed the recipe only slightly. The below recipe is what I used. One of the main things is that I substituted clementines for oranges and clementine juice for water in the cranberry mixture -- because we have tons of clementines (I used a lot more zest, too)! This recipe will make about 2 dozen almost bite-sized cookies. The texture is a bit crunchy and the cranberries are a bit tangy.

Cranberry thumbprints
The cookies:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon clementine zest
1 large egg, separated

The filling:
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup fresh clementine juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon clementine zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the cookies, first whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and 1/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the zest and egg yolk and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Lightly whisk the egg white in a small bowl. Scoop about a teaspoon of dough and roll into a ball. Dip the top part only into the egg and the remaining sugar. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough placing cookies about one inch apart. Gently press the center of each cookie with your thumb. Bake the cookies until a pale golden color, about 15 minutes. After removing from the oven, use the handle of a wooden spoon to gently indent the center of the cookie.

To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until it boils and the cranberries begin to pop. Reduce the heat to a simmer and gently mash the cranberry mixture, cooking about another 5 minutes. Add more juice or a bit of water if too thick. Let cool completely. Then refrigerate and add to the center of the cookies before serving.

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