I prefer my sugar cookies to be better than ordinary. They should have a nice crunch and have a little bit of an almost browned butter flavor. Pale white sugar cookies slapped with a coat of powdered sugar frosting or simply left plain are not worth eating, in my opinion. Simple is not tasty enough for me when it comes to sugar cookies! So when I found this recipe and made them for the first time with my granddaughter, Bella, we were both very pleased with the result. Bella adores anything pink, adores making cookies, and I adored the flavor and easy way we created a pretty and tasty cookie. We received many compliments and questions about what that interesting flavor was… The answer “cornmeal” surprised them all!
The cookies don’t taste like a hunk of cornbread or anything; they just have a slight flavor and texture change that leaves you wondering and guessing, had you not known cornmeal was in the recipe. I liked that all of the ingredients were easily on hand in my pantry and the only inconvenience was the drive across town in our cold weather to pick up Bella for our baking session. That done, we had fun baking the cookies and decorating them all for little packets we delivered to the great grandparents, grandpa, and her own parents.
Having a small cookie scoop was very handy for this recipe. It made the cookies all the same size and Bella was able to pick up a mound, roll it smooth, then put them back onto a plate. When making cookies or meatballs alone I also do it in the same two steps since it really is quicker and much more efficient!
I also had the stacking set of Tupperware cookie cutters from the 80s, and it had the perfect sized heart for this cookie. If you aren’t lucky enough to have one of those, any heart shaped cutter would do that is about 2 inches at its widest part. I was skeptical when first putting them in the oven but they do shape themselves so neatly as they bake! Then all you need to do when they’ve cooled is use a small cake frosting spreader and get the icing on neatly. Have fun with this.. there are so many color combo ideas you could use!
Heart-Glazed Cornmeal Cookies
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter; room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 drops food coloring
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar on medium-high until creamy, 3 minutes. Add egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine.
Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl; we used colored sugar. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. (I used a smaller sized cookie scoop to drop them in uniform-sized mounds onto a plate, then Bella rolled them into smooth balls). Roll them in the sugar and transfer to two parchment-lined baking sheets. They won’t spread much.
With the bottom of a glass, flatten balls to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Press a 1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter into each (do not cut through). Bake until cookies are golden at edges, 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool on wire racks.
In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 3/4 teaspoons cold water. Whisk in food coloring. With a small spoon, spread glaze inside heart. Let set 15 minutes on the baking sheets to dry. Store in tightly covered containers or wrap in clear bags tied with bows and deliver to your Valentines!
Yield: 40 cookies