Ok, seriously, stop with the cookies! Christmas is still a full five days away, and you might not ever want to see a candy, chocolate, or cookie again. Around here, I’ve been bombarded for weeks, and it’s hard to even imagine being interested in eating another sweet. It’s all just too much, for too many days in a row, and that’s hard to say given my profession. Will someone please just make me some Christmas steak or something? I need a little umami in my life!
Enter the deviant cookie. It’s still sweet, but it takes an unexpected twist with the addition of fresh rosemary. I made these beauts for my second seasonal Cookie Exchange, and was really excited at how well they turned out. My friend Robin gave me the idea to make rosemary cornmeal cookies, and I riffed off of that and turned them into a sandwich cookie. Initially, I intended to make a pomegranate jelly* to fill them, but the first store I went into didn’t have pectin, and there was no second store involved, so I opted for an easy jar of sugar-free jelly instead. I don’t think that these cookies were any worse for it.
The recipe for the cookies is really simple, but it does require a little patience and chilling time. If you give it that, you’ll be rewarded with fragrant, snappy cookies with a pleasantly coarse texture from the cornmeal. Bits of fresh herbs and vanilla seeds keep the cookies from looking too prim, and the pretty red jam in the center makes them extra Christmas-y. As for the flavor, it gets its street cred from the surprising rosemary and raspberry combo, making it just deviant enough to outlast all the rest of the sweets on your holiday cookie tray.
Deviant Rosemary Cornmeal Cookies with Raspberry Jelly
Makes about 4 dozen 2 inch sandwich cookies.
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary (don’t used dried)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ + 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 jar (about 10 oz.) seedless raspberry jelly (no sugar added)
In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, minced rosemary, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until well incorporated. In a bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer 1 cup at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl well after each addition. Beat until just incorporated. Form dough into 3 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and chill 3 hours or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Working with one disc of dough at a time, roll out to 1/8 inch thickness on lightly floured parchment paper. Chill rolled out dough for 10 minutes or until firm. Cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets 1 inch apart, and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool cookies completely. Repeat with remaining discs of dough.
Sandwich cooled cookies with ½ teaspoon of raspberry jelly.
*Educational Note: A while back someone asked me what the difference was between jelly, jam, and preserves, and I wasn’t really sure, so I went to the source for all things culinary. Cook’s Illustrated gives a very concise explanation:
A jelly is a clear, bright mixture made from fruit juice, sugar, and often pectin or acid. A jam is a thick mixture of fruit and sugar that is cooked until the pieces of fruit are very soft and almost formless. Preserves are almost identical to jams, but preserves may contain large chunks of fruit or whole fruit.
So, now you know.