Sometimes the best desserts are born from imitation. Such is the case with these cookies. I first had a Cornmeal Lime Cookie here in Seattle at one of my favorite bakeries, Honore. I was running in to get a macaron and saw a friend who asked if I was picking up a Cornmeal Lime Cookie. I told her I'd never tried one; she looked at me as if I was crazy. Everything changed that day. I'm a creature of habit so I'd always picked up a pistachio macaron at Honore, but the Cornmeal Lime Cookie is the new winner. It's a relatively flat, chewy, not-too-sweet cookie delicately flavored with lime and boasting a thin citrusy glaze. It's wonderful with coffee, tea, or all on its lonesome.
After trying my first one, I began to think how I might be able to recreate the cookie at home. It had some heft to it, so it needed a good amount of flour and a healthy dose of cornmeal. I didn't want to use too much sugar, but wanted them to have the strong lime flavor of Honore's version, so I decided to use both lime zest and lime juice in the actual cookies and more zest in the glaze.
My version came out a little softer and not quite as chewy. Truthfully though, I might just like them more. The glaze is brighter and the cookie is delightfully crumbly and wonderfully fragrant. If I'm in the neighborhood and need a pick-me-up, Honore still has my business. But now I think I'll be sticking to making my version at home. I think you're going to like them, too.
Cornmeal Lime Cookies
Makes 14 to 16 cookies
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime zest (from 2 large limes)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 large limes)
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using hand beaters), cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the lime zest and vanilla and mix until just combined. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs and lime juice and mix to incorporate, about 30 seconds. If your mixture seems to separate at this point, don't worry. It will come together again when you begin to add the flour.
Slowly add the flour mixture in three stages, mixing to incorporate in between each addition.
Using an ice cream scooper or large tablespoon, scoop out the dough in heaping 1-inch balls and place 2-inches apart on a parchment-lined (or greased) baking sheet. Lightly press down on each ball with the palm of your hand, slightly flattening each into a disk shape.
Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until no longer soft in the middle and ever-so-slightly golden on the edges.
Meanwhile, make the icing: whisk together the powdered sugar, lime zest, and lemon juice until smooth. Once out of the oven, allow cookies to cool completely on a wire rack before icing. Spread glaze over the tops of each cookie. Let sit 1 hour to allow glaze to firm up.
If stored in an airtight container, cookies will remain good for up to 3 days.
(Images: Megan Gordon)