Polenta cookies with rosemary and olive oil

Yield 30 cookies

Ingredients
1 ½ cups (7.5 oz.) all-purpose flour
½ cup (2.5 oz.) polenta
1 t baking powder
¼ t fine sea salt
½ cup (3.5 oz.) granulated sugar
½ cup olive oil (use a fruity, flavorful oil as it will stand out in this cookie)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 cup (4 oz.) confectioners’ sugar

Directions
Adjust your oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions if you plan to use two cookie sheets. If you’re only using one, then center a rack. Preheat a standard oven to 375 degrees or convection oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl and set it aside.

Whisk the granulated sugar and oil together in a large bowl, then add in the eggs one at a time. Sprinkle in the rosemary and incorporate- the resulting mixture should be smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the flour mixture until a soft dough is formed (it will come together in one large, cohesive ball). Drop one-tablespoon balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet(s), spacing them about two inches apart.

Bake the cookies until the edges are lightly golden and the tops are split. This will take about 13 minutes in a standard oven, and 11 minutes in a convection.

Let the cookies cool on the sheet(s) for five minutes before giving them a tumble in confectioners’ sugar in a shallow dish. You will be doing this while the cookies are still a little warm and the remaining steam emitting from the slightly cooled cookies will help that sugar to stick. Set dusted cookies on a rack to finish cooling, or scarf serve warm.

If you serve these cookies warm, the limonene terpene in the fresh rosemary will fool your taste buds into thinking they’re lemon cookies even though there’s not a drop of lemon in them. If you keep the cookies out on a cooling rack for several hours, they will continue to dry out and transition from being a little cakey, to being crispy on the outside. The air-dried cookies made me think of eating pre-packaged powdered doughnettes (except way the heck more flavorful [and healthy!]).

Adapted from a recipe posted on America’s Test Kitchen.

Polenta “pizza” with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola

Not that anyone ever needs an alternative to pizza, but if you were looking to go about it in a very different way- this could be your answer.  You use polenta to make the base, rather than a standard white flour crust and I thought it rather lovely.  In fact, instead of serving this as a meal, you could cut the polenta with a biscuit round once it’s set and make minis to serve as an app at a party.

Because there is warm and bubbly gorgonzola cheese on the top, the polenta has no need for the likes of milk or cream and is made simply with water.  For an additional twist, you could cook it with chicken or vegetable broth instead.

Ingredients:

1 ½  cups polenta

5 cups water

1 tablespoon salted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 medium onions, cut in half and sliced thin

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

4 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the butter and olive oil in a cast iron skillet and sauté the onions over a low heat  until they are light brown in color, stirring occasionally (this will take upwards of 30 minutes)
  • Bring salted water to a boil in a medium sauce pan
  • When the water comes to a boil, add the polenta slowly- while stirring, and reduce the heat to low
  • Continue stirring and cook for about 10 minutes, until it thickens
  • Spread the thick porridge into a 9″ tart pan and set it aside
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Add the garlic to the caramelized onions and continue to sauté for another minute, stirring constantly
  • Season with salt and pepper, add the chopped thyme and mix
  • Spread the onion mixture over polenta and top with gorgonzola
  • Bake this in the oven for about 10 minutes, then move under a broiler for 2 minutes to put the final bubble on the cheese, and the last crisp on the onions

This recipe founds its inspiration at World’s Healthiest Foods.

Polenta cakes with goat cheese & black raspberry preserves

Ok, I know, this week has been a little heavy on the goat cheese.  But it’s so good!

This particular recipe was developed as an appetizer for a party where hand-held foods are a must.  Since I typically do something very sweet and dessert-y I decided to make something savory with just a tiny bit of sweet this time.  The overall process takes a while, but could be cut down if you were to use a “log” of polenta  instead (as the cooking is done for you).

Ingredients

9 cups water

Salt

3 cups uncooked polenta

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

12 oz. soft goat cheese at room temperature

1 jar black raspberry (or your personal preference) preserves

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Bring the water, salted, to a boil in a large, nonstick fry pan
  • Add the polenta, reduce heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Remove from heat, stir in the fresh thyme, and let rest while you line a jelly roll pan with foil
  • Transfer the cooked polenta to the jelly roll pan and smooth to the edges of the pan with a rubber or offset spatula
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes
  • Transfer the baked polenta to a large cutting board and cut circles with a biscuit cutter*
  • In a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, mix the goat cheese for 5 minutes to incorporate some air, and make sure that there are no lumps
  • Using a pastry bag pipe the goat cheese on top of each of the polenta rounds
  • Using a teaspoon, dollop the preserves on top of the goat cheese

*I tried both plastic and metal cutters and found plastic to be rather troublesome and metal to work grandly

This recipe was very good as it is, but it could also be changed up in so many ways: add lemon juice and/or zest to the goat cheese; add honey to the goat cheese for a sweeter take; change up the preserves and use a) a different flavor or b) a fresh fruit; add a fresh mint leaf to the top; use orange zest in the polenta instead of thyme.  The list could go on and on.

J