Today I am coming to you with a few random items and one delicious recipe:
I can hardly believe it is June. Farmer’s Market season has begun in the Midwest and we are now lucky enough to live a couple of blocks from our local market. Saturday mornings are now my favorite part of the week.
With summer quickly approaching, I put a call out for a special seasonal cocktail and boy did you deliver! So many excellent suggestions. All of them, really. Those comments will remain a good resource for anyone looking for a refreshing summer drink. We’re in the process of testing some of your recipes out and will be offering three finalists up for a vote later in the month. Soon, the official drink of summer will be crowned. Can’t wait.
My love for Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain grows with every recipe I try. I made these rhubarb tarts a few weeks ago and they knocked my socks off. This is a special recipe and I encourage you to give it a try. Deb posted the recipe recently and her version looks great but I would stick with Boyce’s original rhubarb-hibiscus filling. The addition of hibiscus is genius and makes these preserves good for more than just tarts. To make it, add 6-8 dried hibiscus flowers in place of the vanilla and follow the rest of the instructions. At the end of cooling, remove the flowers, giving them a squeeze to get out as much liquid as possible.
I also tried a recipe for cornmeal cookies with dried blueberries that was equally incredible. Bryan says his favorite berry is the blueberry, which is sad since I bake with them so seldom. In an effort to make up for that, I decided to bake these cookies for him. Warm from the oven, they are little pieces of heaven. A hearty crumb and sweet little flecks of blueberry. These would be great served warm with some vanilla or buttermilk ice cream. Bryan approved.
A couple of notes about this recipe: These really are best the day they are made and are absolutely delicious in their first hour out of the oven. Don’t plan on making these in advance. This recipe can easily be cut in half if you don’t have enough people to eat 2 dozen cookies on the first day.
Cornmeal Blueberry Cookies (from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce)
- 2 cups corn flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely ground cornmeal (do not use medium or coarse grind!)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cup dried blueberries (unsweetened or lightly sweetened)
- 1/2 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub two baking sheets with butter.
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter, and set aside.
Add the butter and the brown sugar to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to low speed and mix until the butter and sugar are combined, then increase the mixer speed to medium and cream for 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and 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 barley combined, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the milk and the blueberries. Slowly mix until the dough is evenly combined.
Pour the finishing sugar into a bowl. Scoop mounds of dough, each about 3 tablespoons in size, form them into balls and set them on a plate. Dip each ball into the sugar, coating it lightly. Arrange the balls on the baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between them. The balls of dough that don’t fit on this round of baking can be dipped in the sugar and chilled.
Bake the cookies for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The cookies will puff up and crack at the tops and are ready to come out when the sugar crust is golden brown and the cracks are still faintly yellow.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
These cookies are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day. They’ll keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.