Apricot, Sage, and Cornmeal Cookies

Northerners don’t understand cornbread. We turn it into a dessert. A sweet cake instead of a savory bread. And then we serve it with supper. I admit that some of the sweetened cornbreads are good, but they should be called corn cake, and served as dessert with some roasted fruit or ice cream.

But imagine if that sweetened cornbread were turned into a cookie, a legitimate dessert. A delicious, buttery, chewy-centered, crisp-edged cookie. This is that cookie. It is surprisingly good. After our first bite, we were unsure but by the last bite we were 100% positive we had found a delicious recipe. These manage to be both unusual and familiar at the same time. I think they would be best showcased alongside a dish of buttermilk ice cream, unfortunately I was too lazy to make the ice cream. Next time.

This recipe comes from the excellent Paley’s Place Cookbook by Vitaly and Kimberly Paley. In addition to containing lots of wonderful recipes, the book is a good read and very beautifully photographed. It is an inspiring addition to any cookbook collection. It also makes me want to move to Portland, although everything has been making me want to move to Portland lately.

Apricot, Sage, and Cornmeal Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer running, add the egg, mix to incorporate, and scrape once more.

In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda and salt and add to the mixer along with the cornmeal. Mix on low speed until just combined. Add the apricots and sage and mix to combine. (Don’t worry if the dough is slightly sticky.) Shape it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill several hours.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper greased with nonstick vegetable spray.

Pinch off pieces of dough the size of large marbles and roll them into balls.  Place the dough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet to allow the cookies to spread. Bake until light golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

*** Generally speaking, I like my baked goods a little darker than the average person. I cooked the second batch of these until they were solid golden brown around the edges and liked them even better.

31 comments to “Apricot, Sage, and Cornmeal Cookies”

  1. ooh. yum.

  2. Really, yum.

    Incidentally, there’s a batch of buttermilk ice cream I made a few days ago sitting in my freezer. It wants your cookies.

  3. Creative and crunchy cookies and sure del!.. And very nice blog! I love cooking and reading blogs like yours. Now I have a new friend, you!

  4. inspired! i’ve never heard of such a cookie.

  5. I think I just ate these cookies with my eyes! I love sage- will have to make these soon!

  6. Yes, I can get behind a cornbread-turned-cookie. Your flavor combination is so unique!!

  7. Oregonian here chiming in to say Paley’s is the best…great restaurant, really charming owners.
    These look delicious! I am bookmarking now. Though I may have to buy the cookbook. Is everything in it very rich?

  8. Awesome flavors! Especially the sage. It’s funny, both parts of the Duo hail from different parts of the South (one born, one bred), and we like cornbread sweet! Nothing wrong with savory, but it’s oh so good sweet.

  9. These sound wondeful. I always hate savory cornbreads, in favor of their sweet counterparts. I know I would love these cookies of yours. Maybe some fresh cranberries thrown in? Thanks again!

  10. I just found your blog – will be bookmarking it! Everything looks amazing. My husband would die for these cookies.
    I’m excited to have found you :)

  11. Welcome, Mandy! and thanks.

    Maggie: The book seems pretty well balanced to me. (But maybe I am not the best judge.) I am a really big fan of it so far.

  12. This cookie recipe strikes me as one of those that is just crazy enough to be, possibly, perfect. Definitely trying this one. Found your site via pioneerwoman — so happy I did! Beautiful photos and lovely writing. Back soon.

  13. came from pioneerwoman.com, love your site! These cookies sound delicious!

  14. Hi Tim! After reading your post, I can practically taste these cookies now. A very rare – at least I did not hear of it before – combination of sage and apricot flavours!! When I own an oven again (hm, sounds like a nursery rhyme, but only for cooks), I’ll make them. Positively!

  15. These look and sound fabulous. Once you get around to that ice cream – and if you have these cookies on hand – I’m picturing ice cream sandwiches!



  16. Someone sent me a link to your blog recently. It’s bookmarked…love it! I’m going to make these cookies and a batch of buttermilk ice cream this week. Looks fantastic…mmmm….

  17. Aw, thanks Erin! That is nice, I’m glad you like it. Let me know how the cookies are with the ice cream…

  18. I just found your blog, too and I’m loving it! These cookies look fantastic.

  19. I can totally get behind the cornmeal and apricots, but sage? Sage is such a domineering herb. Maybe I’d have to try it with just the teensiest hint of sage. (Although it certainly looks pretty, with the green speckles.)

  20. Came from The Homesick Texan… love the blog!

  21. WOW, these look amazing! I will have to give them a try…sounds so delicious. :)

  22. These sound absolutely amazing – definitely on my to-make list. I love sage and cornmeal.

  23. Ooh, I am *so* going to make these! I’m on a huge sweet-combined-with-savory kick right now and these sound perfect.

  24. My boyfriend and I work at Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, and we went into the Café for dinner on Valentine’s day. We always like to bring in something homemade for the cooks/staff, and decided that this was the recipe fit for the occasion. I brought a plate of them into the cooks as they were sitting down for a quick family meal, and they loved them SO much that a message was sent to our table that the head chef wanted the recipe, (along with a gift of prosciutto wrapped scallops from the downstairs restaurant kitchen!). Needless to say, thanks for posting this recipe…it really is a new favorite, AND paid off! : )

  25. Jenny: That is so good to hear! I am glad you liked the recipe, I totally agree that it is an instant favorite. Thanks for sharing the story, Chez Panisse remains one of my favorite dining experiences of all time. Such an amazing place you’ve got there.

  26. Great recipe! The sage adds a perfect unique touch. I’ve tried them with dried cherries instead of apricots, also, and really liked it.

  27. Just wanted to let you know I made these this evening and LOVED them! So easy and really tasty. I didn’t want to go out to the store and didn’t have fresh sage on hand, so I used 1/2 tsp of dried thyme and 1/4 tsp of dried rosemary instead and they were still really good! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  28. Hi Sara, I’m glad you liked them!

  29. Made these tonight. YUM! And super-easy. the richness of butter and corn with sage to add depth and apricot for brightness – perfect. Interestingly, this recipe was also published in Gourmet in something like 1997 according to Epicuriois.

  30. What a fun flavor combination! I weighed each one in at 28 grams (I’m a little crazy when I bake) and they baked perfectly in 12 minutes. Thank you Tim, for another outstanding recipe!

  31. All too often I read though reviews only to find that few if any people actually make the recipe.
    This is a favourite in my house. Great texture added with the cornmeal and the sage leaves you chasing a mysterious flavour until they’re all gone.

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