Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I am really sorry to admit that these wonderful little cookies weren't part of my original 2010 Christmas Cookies List. I liked the idea of having a cookie with polenta, to add a bit of texture, and were originally fancying these caramel polenta cookies. Don't they sound lovely? Crunchy polenta cookies with little pockets of melted caramel. Double yum. Except they turned out a disaster. They were way too sweet, and way too gooey. I actually threw the rest of the uncooked dough away after my first two batches of cookies came out of the oven inedible, something I've never before had to do.
A quick search on Google didn't reveal any other caramel polenta cookies, so I had to abandon the whole idea. However, I still think it sounds great, and I will try them again in the near future, after the mad Christmas Cookie rush is over. Next time I might increase the amount of flour, and use less honey, like suggested in some of te comments. Recipes are after all made to be fiddled with.
While searcing for the elusive alternative caramel polenta cookie, I came across quite a few versions of orange polenta cookies. They are actually quite plain: a polenta and flour dough with some orange zest mixed in. More importantly, though, they are ridiculously quick and easy to make. Throw everything in your food processor, mix, rest, bake and ta-da! Which is a welcome change from most of the cookies I've attempted so far. The final recipe I settled on is the one from Jamie Oliver, and no, I am not in love with this man, which I'm sure seems like the case if you look at the amount of Jamie Oliver I've done over the last few weeks. There just seems to be a whole lot of nice ones from him around at the moment.
The orange aroma in my cookies were quite pronounced. I left my dough in the fridge overnight, and I'm not sure if that is what gave the orange chance to permeate everything. Just to be sure, though, I'm definitely doing it again next time I make these. They smell like heaven. (Normally I'd say heaven must surely be made of chocolate, but it just goes to show how good these cookies actually are).
Orange Polenta Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen
Recipe Jamie Oliver via Food and Wine
1 1/2 cups medium non-instant polenta or yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces or 175g) chilled unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
In a food processor, combine the polenta with the butter, sugar, flour, orange zest and salt and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the eggs and pulse just until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a bowl and refrigerate until slightly firm, about 1 hour. (I left mine overnight)
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop slightly rounded teaspoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 4cm apart. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until golden around the edges and on the bottoms. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week or frozen for 1 month. .