Friday, April 9, 2010

Orange-Scented Cornmeal Cookies with Cranberry Icing

I facilitate a quarterly meeting with over a dozen people who take the time out of their day and remove themselves from a very busy operation to serve on a panel for an employee recognition program I run. Of course, I treat this meeting as though I were hosting a get together at my home; I bring in baked goods and set up a nice spread so they feel comfortable. Half of them fly in from the east coast on a 5+ hour plane ride for one day’s work, so the least I can do it make some homemade eats instead of leaving them with corporate coffee and Biscoff cookies (ok Biscoff cookies are really good, but they are still airplane food).

With a variety of personalities and tastes, I try to make several things across the board instead of aiming for just one general taste. You might think everyone likes oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but you never know (some very disturbed people don't). The last time this panel came, I made scones and chocolate-dipped biscotti which were  very well-received. So this time I went with the “Everything” cookie – everything including chocolate chips, pecans, oatmeal, and coconut - for the sweet portion. I also made vegan Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake, less sweet than the cookies but also very popular. Then for the not so sweet but great-with-coffee option, I chose Cornmeal Cookies. I found a general recipe on that I just tweaked to make more flavorful and, oh yeah, vegan.

The texture of these was fantastic, with a soft shortbread give but a pleasant cornmeal crunch. The pink icing was popular not only because of its color, but because it added a faint sweetness without being overbearing. Adding a very sour juice with powdered sugar was a good strategy. The orange barely present, I may tweak the measurements a bit, but give it a shot and see what you think! I’m a lazy cookie baker and don’t like high hassle dough, which is why I almost always make drop cookies. Despite having to chill the dough and then go at it what a rolling pin, these were super easy to make. Perfect for dipping in coffee or tea.

Orange-Scented Cornmeal Cookies with Cranberry Icing
Makes about 30 cookies
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes plus cooling


For the Cookies
1 c. Unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ c. Cornmeal (not corn grits or polenta)
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp. Baking soda
7 T. Vegan margarine, room temperature
½ c. Sugar
¼ c. Applesauce
1 T. Orange Juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. Orange Zest
½ tsp. Vanilla extract

For the Icing
1 ½ c. Powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 T. Cranberry juice blend


Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat margarine and sugar together until fluffy, scraping down mixture from the sides of the bowl. Beat in applesauce, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Reducing the speed, slowly add in dry ingredients, about ¾ cup at a time until just incorporated. Form dough into a ball and chill wrapped in plastic for 30 min.

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough with a floured rolling pin into a large square, about 8 inches on each side. Make about 10 vertical slices in dough (about ¾ inch wide) and cut dough crosswise in thirds. Transfer to a cookie sheet about 15 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool, 30-45 minutes.

To make the icing, sift the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk in 2 T of cranberry juice. Add more for a thinner consistency. Using a spoon or spatula, drizzle icing over cooled cookies in any fashion of you preference. Let icing set while cookies are on cooling rack. Transfer to platter or container, separating layers with parchment or wax paper.

1 comment:

  1. Love your site. I work with Pram in Madison, Wisconsin at Bandung. He told me about your blog. I'm cutting my meat intake tremendously and trying to get fit, so I am studying veggies and vegans. I'll be stealing your recipes as they all look yummy.