Monday, October 12, 2020

Honeyed Cornmeal Shortbread

This Honeyed Cornmeal Shortbread is the perfect mix of chewy and crisp with a great texture from the cornmeal and caramelized honey. Try something different for your Thanksgiving dessert!
 

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all my readers! This year, we have spread our celebrations out over most of the month, given the growing family (my stepsiblings welcomed two new littles in August!) and the various schedules we all contend with. For us, it's an excuse to just keep churning out the treats (and get rid of them without eating a whole batch). 

Mom always takes the reins on the "main" dessert during the holidays, usually an apple pie (I know, not pumpkin! None of us are that keen on pumpkin pie here, that's my dad's domain). However, while the turkey, potatoes and stuffing are cooking, it never hurts to have a snack or two! That's where these little squares of shortbread come in - they're sweet, without being too rich, and have a great corn flavour bolstered by the caramelized honey on top. The texture is a cross between traditional sandy shortbread and a chewy cookie, having a crisp exterior that still lends a chew.
 
The recipe I used is a modification of one we used at work for the holiday lunch - as always, I found I had to tweak it in order to make it "work", but hey, I'm not turning down a cookie! Drop cookies turned into pressed-out bars for more even cooking, and the honey on top was in lieu of a true glaze because I am lazy and didn't feel like messing up another bowl and whisk, but I would 100% do that again because of how wonderfully it caramelized and set. I also added a pinch of salt to the batter (the original recipe used none) and added the milk in batches to avoid a runny mixture. Baking time and temperature changed to my usual shortbread configurations, the low and slow preventing excess rise and cakeyness.

In all, these cookies satisfied our love for both cornbread and shortbread, and were a hit with the guests this weekend. What started off as an unlikely series of events wound up being something awesome that I will 100% make again, and I for one am thankful - as I am for each and every one of my readers. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving season everyone, whether you are celebrating the day today or next month!

Honeyed Cornmeal Shortbread
Makes ~20 pieces
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup whole milk, divided
1 cup medium or fine cornmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
~3 tbsp runny honey
  1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add egg, vanilla and 1/2 cup of the milk, beating well.
  3. Stir in the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt, adding the remaining milk as needed to form a "scoopable" cookie dough texture (like chocolate chip cookie dough).
  4. Cover and let sit at cool room temperature for 1 hour (or cover and chill 2 hours).
  5. Heat oven to 325F and oil a 7x11 pan (I used a stoneware one).
  6. Press dough evenly into the pan, about 1/2" thick.
  7. Bake 30 minutes. 
  8. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey.
  9. Broil on HI for 3 minutes, until the honey is caramelized and the top is brown.
  10. Cool 3 minutes in the pan, then slice with a pizza wheel or sharp knife. 
  11. Cool completely in the pan.