Nashville Cornmeal Cookies are a magnificent southern-style butter cookie with the crunch of cornmeal. I’ve substituted 1 cup of Nashville’s Martha White (or use any southern brand) of self-rising cornmeal mix for one of the three cups of all-purpose flour in a usual butter cookie. The result is a crispy edged buttery cookie with a pleasantly earthy and slightly gritty texture. Once you’ve tasted these, it’s hard to go back to a smooth plain old butter cookie.
Self-rising cornmeal mix is a nice convenience popular all over the South for easy cornbread baking as it is a blend of cornmeal, just the right amount of flour, baking powder and salt (BUT NO SUGAR) for making the perfect skillet cornbread. You can find it made with white or yellow corn. Pick your favorite as both work fine, but white corn reigns all over the South.
Using one of these cornmeal mixes, all you have to do is stir in oil, milk or buttermilk and an optional egg. Plus provide a preheated hot skillet. If you live in the South, it’s definitely a product that you already do or should keep on hand. You may also notice a product called self-rising cornmeal on your supermarket shelf. You’ve guessed right that it is simply cornmeal, leavening and salt without added flour. It makes a denser cornbread that is also quite delicious.
You can substitute that or even plain cornmeal in this cookie recipe. If using plain cornmeal, be sure to stir in a teaspoon of baking powder into the dough along with the salt.
My cookie baking skills skyrocketed when I finally bought a small scooper a few years back. I am always reluctant to add yet another gadget to my overflowing kitchen, but this is definitely worth it. Every cookie baker should have one for making uniform cookies that are easy to dole out onto the baking sheet.
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Zest from 1 lemon (optional)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (use a little less fine grained salt)
- Heat the oven to 375 F.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest, if using. Blend well.
- On a low mixer speed, blend in the flour, cornmeal mix and the salt just until well blended.
- Using a small scoop or two teaspoons, scoop balls of dough, about 1-inch in diameter, and roll the balls in a shallow bowl of sugar.
- Place the balls on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Flatten slightly with your fingers.
- Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
- If using plain cornmeal, add 1 teaspoon baking powder to the dry ingredients.