Guava Cornmeal Cookies


For someone interested in baking, picking up new ingredients for some kitchen playtime is equivalent to a kid getting some new play-doh gadgets. They start with a tube of colored dough and end up with pasta makers, car figures, and little animals (could play-doh be good training for a life working in fondant?). In the kitchen, I start out with a pile of flour, sugar, and butter, and with additions and subtractions, come up with cakes, pies, and cookies of all sorts. It's really just magical.



I hadn't worked with guava, but it was due time. Guava paste is easy to find at the grocery (for me, it was in the latino foods section), so I snatched up a little tube of it. But what to make? I made Mantecaditos a while back, which were fantastic little shortbread cookies that had many topping options, but wanted a new dough. That's when I read a cornbread cookie recipe.

Cornmeal isn't the first thing I think of when I consider all my dessert options. I mean, I've had sweet cornbread before, but those were still a part of dinner. I found myself intrigued.

The dough was simple enough. Like many cookie recipes, I mixed the dry ingredients into one bowl, then poured them into the rest. I used a mixture of flour and cornmeal, then stirred in some cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. With my stand mixer, I beat the butter and sugar together, then added in some vanilla and almond extract, lemon juice, and egg. I combined both bowls, mixing the dough together well.


I scooped the dough onto a parchment lined sheet, then put a small indent into the top of each. Now here's where the recipe can go anywhere - add any kind of fruit or jelly, maybe even a peanut butter cup. I added some guava. Just a little, though, so it would accent the flavor of the cookie.


About 10 minutes later, the cookies were ready for snack time.


They spread out to at least twice their width, and the dough turned into a shortbread-like consistency.


The texture! These cookies were somewhat grainy, while also having a slight crunch like a shortbread cookie (the Greek Kourabiedes cookies were similar). The graininess sounds odd when described but is quite good, and the cornmeal just gave the cookie a nice, mild flavor without turning into a crunchy piece of cornbread. Guava itself is not overly sweet, so it accented the cookie well. For a sweeter cookie, strawberry preserves would do the trick.

These are a well-rounded cookie (literally and figuratively), as they can go with holiday treats or any other time of year depending on the fruit. Cornbread cookies aim to please.

Guava Cornmeal Cookies Recipe

Ingredients: 

1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg
2 tablespoons guava paste

Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and almond extracts and lemon juice and continue mixing. Stir in the egg. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the mixer and stir well. Spoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Using your thumb or a spoon, make an indention into the top of each cookie. Add a small amount of guava into the indentation. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

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