Lemony Cornmeal Strawberry Shortcakes

September 14, 2012

I bet ya’ll knew I couldn’t stay away from that cornmeal for long huh? This time I made good old Strawberry Shortcakes, that perfect summer time dessert (actually the weather around here has been surprisingly pleasant, with very little humidity. However, I fear Virginia summers are not done with us yet and after lulling us into a false sense of security, may return for an encore performance ). Since cornmeal seemed to work very well in so many of my other culinary creations, (Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies, Blueberry Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes…) I thought adding a little cornmeal to the biscuit part of the Strawberry Shortcake would be delicious. And I wasn’t wrong. These biscuits were really tasty and had a distinct down-home style to them! Flaky and buttery, just like the traditional shortbread biscuit but with a bit of crunch and texture thanks to the cornmeal. The addition of the lemon zest gives it a wonderfully fresh zing as well. Layer on some fresh strawberries and top with whipped cream and you just can’t go wrong! Make some of these up for Summer’s last hurrah… you know those sneaky oppressive temps are lurking just around the corner, waiting to pounce!  (I’m such a pessimist 🙂 )

Lemony Cornmeal Strawberry Shortcakes

recipe from: Baked Bree

yield: 10 -12 shortcakes (depending on what size you cut your biscuits to)

Ingredients:

For the strawberries:

  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • juice from a half of a lemon

For the lemon cornmeal biscuits:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream (to brush on top)
  • Demerara sugar

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Put the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking powder and lemon zest in the food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the butter. Process until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Whisk together the eggs and cream.

Pour the mixture into the top of the food processor and process until the dough just starts to come together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Handle dough as little as possible at this point. Roll out dough to 1/2″ – 3/4″ thickness.

Using a sharp 1 1/2″ – 2″ biscuit cutter, cut out as many biscuits as you can, taking care to push the cutter straight down to cut. Do not twist cutter or biscuits will not rise as well. Brush with a little cream.

Sprinkle with Demerara sugar.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 10-13 minutes or until the tops are just golden brown.

Meanwhile, toss the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Let sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes or until you are ready to serve.

Whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks form.

To assemble, cut the biscuit in half and layer with strawberries and whipped cream.

Enjoy!


Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

August 3, 2012

I’m back into the cornmeal again. I can’t help it. I just love the stuff! So when I saw that Dorie Greenspan had a recipe for Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies in Baking From My Home to Yours, I just couldn’t resist trying it out. I mean, I’m definitely a fan of rich, buttery, melt-in-your mouth shortbread. And we’ve already discussed my obsession with cornmeal, so it is no surprize that I was really intrigued by these cookies.

Shortbread is pretty easy to make. You just have to remember a couple of key points. The first is, don’t over beat the butter. While you want the sugar and butter blended, you don’t want to beat it until it becomes light a fluffy. The second thing to remember is that once you add the flour to the butter, mix them together quickly and gently, stopping as soon as the flour is incorporated. Once you’ve gotten the batter all mixed up, Dorie Greenspan suggests that you place the shortbread dough in a gallon ziplock bag and then roll it out in the bag. I must say, this suggestion is just brilliant! It was so much easier and much less messy than any of the methods I have tried before. I made the shortbread dough up on one day, refrigerated it overnight and then baked it on the following day. Pretty straight forward.

How did the Cornmeal Shortbread turn out? Fantastic! I can honestly say this is the BEST shortbread I have ever eaten! It has all of the rich buttery goodness of usual shortbread, along with the sandy texture. But the bit of cornmeal added to the mix gives this particular shortbread some extra crunch. Plus the lemon zest adds a really fresh zing. My husband, who isn’t really a shortbread fan… Wait! What?! Really, it’s true. In fact, when I mentioned I was making shortbread cookies he grabbed his throat and acted as if he was desperate need of water. You know like he had been traipsing around the desert for a week. Shortbread is soo dry, he gasped. Hmmm….But after he tasted these cookies, he agreed that they are the best he has ever tasted. So good, he is now even rethinking his previously held stance on shortbread cookies I know you might still be a bit skeptical about cornmeal in a shortbread cookie. I don’t blame you, I was too. And you probably shouldn’t trust me. You’ll just have to try them for yourself. You’ll see I was right. Well what are you waitin for? Get to baking!

Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

recipe from: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

Yield: 32 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Directions:

Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt together into a bowl, then whisk in the cornmeal.

Working in the bowl of a stand mixer, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment or the whisk, or use a hand mixer. Add the butter and extract to the bowl and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is very smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they just disappear into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10″ rectangle that’s 1/4″ thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Baking:

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board and using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2″ squares, or the size you desire. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately lower the oven temperature to 300°F. Bake the shortbreads for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads should be set and only just tinged golden. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to room temperature.

Enjoy!


Blueberry Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes

July 19, 2012

Don’t put that cornmeal away yet! I know you just used it to make the batter up for those tasty Mini Corn Dogs. This time around it’s on the menu for breakfast in some delicious Blueberry Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes. Good lands, I just knew this dish would be fantastic! How could it not when its got all those great ingredients, buttermilk, cornmeal and fresh blueberries!

I had never made a cornmeal pancake before and was a bit nervous about doing so, thinking the cornmeal might make a pancake heavy. However, we really do love cornbread around here and my cornbread isn’t heavy at all. So, I gave these pancakes a try and we were not disappointed. The pancakes were wonderfully light and fluffy but had a great texture and taste to thanks to the cornmeal. Even though there were blueberries in the pancakes, we served them up with extra berries on top and drizzled with maple syrup. What a fabulous lazy Sunday morning breakfast!

Blueberry Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes

recipe from: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

yield: 15 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups (7 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pint blueberries, rinsed

Directions:

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In a large measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and gently whisk just until combined – the batter will still be lumpy, that’s what you want.

{If you aren’t going to serve the pancakes until you’ve cooked all of them, preheat oven to 200 F. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and set it inside a baking sheet then place the baking sheet in the oven.}

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet set over medium heat (you could use butter too if you’d rather). Once the oil starts shimmering, use paper towels to wipe the pan so only a thin, even coating of oil covers the bottom and sides. Use a 1/3 cup measure to portion the batter into the pan. Sprinkle some blueberries over the surface of the pancake. Cook on the first side until the edges are set and the bottom browned, about 3 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the pancakes and cook on the second side until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 more minutes. {If not serving immediately, transfer the pancakes to the wire rack in the oven.} Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.

Serve with butter, maple syrup and/or more blueberries!

Enjoy!


Blueberry Cornmeal Spoonbread

July 21, 2011

Heavens! I knew this recipe was going to be great the moment I saw it on Food on Fifth and I sure was right! Spoonbread is a slightly sweet cornmeal based dish popular in the southern U.S. I don’t know why it’s mostly popular there. They must be keeping it a bit of a secret cause it is super tasty. Jay and I just finished scarfing down our first servings, and it will be time for seconds any moment now! Spoonbread is really not so much “bread” but more like a soufflé or an airy cornmeal bread pudding. When you add in those fresh blueberries…it’s just unbelievably yummy. I couldn’t even figure out how to classify it…is it for breakfast or is it a dessert? I do declare, the answer is that it is for both and probably several other meals of the day if you’re lucky.

Blueberry Cornmeal Spoonbread

recipe from Food on Fifth

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint fresh Blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoon cream
  • 2 Tablespoon softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs – separated
  • 1 teaspoon salt – the original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of salt, which is what I used. My husband totally digs salt, so he was quite pleased with it. If you don’t like as much salt, you could probably reduce it by 1/2.
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling over the top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F

In saucepan bring buttermilk and sugar to low boil. When the buttermilk begins to bubble around the edges of pan, slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Turn heat down to low and stir with the whisk for 8 minutes. Mixture should be mushy. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

Beat egg whites with salt until stiff. Set aside.

Whisk butter and vanilla into cooled cornmeal mixture.

Add egg yolks to mixture and whisk until blended.

Stir in cream with whisk.

Gently fold in egg whites.

Pour 1/2 mixture into buttered baking dish and top with 1/2 blueberries. Spread the rest of cornmeal mixture over berries. Top with a scattering of the remaining berries.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown and it is firm but wobbly in the center. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.

* This recipe doesn’t make a whole mess of spoonbread. The dish I used is an 8×10 oval gratin style dish. An 8×8 dish would likely work fine. Or individual ramekins might be nice.


%d bloggers like this: