So, when I first encountered a review copy of the book Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours, I have to confess, I had my doubts. The concept--a book of recipes for baked goods (both sweet and savory) using whole grain flours sounded vaguely...virtuous.
But once assured that they still did include plenty of sugar and butter, I figured it was worth a try.
And after looking through the book (and lovingly, at some of the pictures), I decided to try the cornmeal blueberry cookies. Why? Well, for one thing, I like cookies, and I like corn muffins, and these kind of sounded somewhere in between. Plus, I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand.
Well, I veered a little from the original recipe: for one thing, I used frozen instead of dried blueberries, dehydrating them by baking them at 200 degrees farenheit for a few hours to dry them out; and second, instead of cookies I made my batch as bars, using an 8x8-inch pyrex baking sheet. Because I had dehydrated the berries and they weren't completely dried, I placed them on top of the batter rather than mixing it in; however, even with these changes, the yield was a very dense and pleasing bar, like cornbread meets sugar cookie, with a nice tart edge from the berries.
Here's the recipe.
Cornmeal Blueberry Cookie Bars
Adapted from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours
- 2 cups corn flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely ground cornmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I used Secret Stash Sea Salt's Pistachio cherry)
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 cup dried blueberries (I had frozen; I baked them for a couple of hours at 200 degrees to dehydrate them)
1/2 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Rub your baking pan with butter.
- Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and set aside.
- Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to low speed and mix until the butter and sugar are combined, then increase the speed to medium and cream for 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is combined. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend on low speed until the flour is just barely combined, about 20-30 seconds (it's very pretty to watch). Scrabe down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the milk (and if you're using dried, add the blueberries now). Slowly mix until the dough is evenly combined.
- Spoon your batter (it will be thick) into your prepared pan, spreading with a spatula to even out the top. Sprinkle the dehydrated blueberries and finishing sugar on top. (or, if you want to make cookies, pour the sugar into a bowl scoop mounds of dough, each about 3 tablespoons in size, form into balls, and set on a plate; dip each ball into the sugar, coating it lightly; arrange the balls on baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between them--balls that don't fit on the first baking sheet can be dipped in the sugar and chilled til ready to bake).
- Bake the bars for somewhere between 20-30 (possibly a few more) minutes depending on your pan size (more minutes for a taller pan, less for a shallower pan); (20-22 for cookies), rotating the sheet at about 10 minutes. The bars will puff up and crack at the top and are ready to come out when the sugar crustis golden brown and the cracks still faintly yellow.
- These bars / cookies are best eaten warm from the oven or the same day. But, if you must, they'll keep in an airtight container (at room temperature) for up to 3 days.