All posts by The Old Mill Kitchen

Lemon Pecan Cornmeal Cookies

Fresh lemons were a special-occasion ingredient in Smoky Mountain kitchens of old. In everyday cooking and baking, the flavor might be mimicked with apple cider vinegar or buttermilk. But during the Christmas holidays, lemon zest and juice were used in cookies, cakes, and pies. This simple butter cookie recipe – perfect for gift-giving – uses not only fresh lemon zest and juice, but also locally produced yellow self-rising cornmeal and chopped nuts. The nuts were black walnuts or hickory nuts in older mountain recipes, but today, most cooks bake with pecans. Corn was a crop more easily grown than wheat in mountain soil. So sometimes you find cookie recipes from the mountains contained a little cornmeal, adding texture and that little something extra!

Makes about 36 2-inch cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 8 to 10 minutes

Lemon Pecan Cornmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup The Old Mill White Unbleached Plain Flour

1/2 cup The Old Mill Self-Rising Yellow Cornmeal

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, separated

1 small lemon

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Directions:

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place the flour and cornmeal in a small bowl, and stir to combine. Set aside.

3. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and with an electric mixer beat on medium speed until the mixture is creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside the egg white. Place the egg yolk in the bowl with the butter and sugar, and beat on low until just combined, 30 seconds. Set aside.

4. Zest the lemon so you get about 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Add this to the butter and sugar mixture. Cut the lemon in half and juice it to yield 2 teaspoons. Add the lemon juice to the butter and sugar mixture. Add the flour and cornmeal mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined and the mixture comes together into a ball, 1 minute.

5. Place the pecans in a shallow bowl. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of dough, roll into balls with your hands, dip into the egg white, and dredge in pecans to loosely coat. Place the balls of dough on a baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. With a fork press down twice on each ball to flatten it. Repeat with the remaining dough. You will need to bake one pan at a time.

6. Place the pan in the oven, and bake until the cookies are deeply golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a spatula to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.


How to make icebox cookies: Roll the dough into a 1 1/2-inch wide log and wrap in waxed or parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator to chill 1 hour. Brush the log with the reserved egg white and dredge in pecans. Slice into 1/4-inch rounds, and bake until golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes. You can omit the egg white and pecans, if desired, for lemon cornmeal icebox cookies.

Lemon Corn Flour Meltaway Cookies

Our General Store Manager, Ginger, shared this recipe with us. Corn flour gives them a nice texture and flavor that pairs very well with the addition of lemon. It makes a great shortbread cookie and with the addition of chopped pecans, they did not last long. These are the Miller’s favorite cookie!

Lemon Corn Flour Meltaway Cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes

Chill time: minimum of 2 hours

Bake time: 11 – 14 minutes

Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups Old Mill White Unbleached Flour

1/2 cup Old Mill Yellow Corn Flour

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 1 large or 2 small lemons)

Directions:

Place the flour, corn flour, cornstarch, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set aside

Cut the butter into tablespoons and place in a large bowl. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest. Blend on low speed until creamy. Add the flour mixture and blend on low until smooth.

Turn half of the batter out onto a long sheet of waxed or parchment paper and roll into a 1 1/2-inch-thick log. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough and chill at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the logs of dough from the fridge, and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place about 12 to a baking sheet, and bak until the edges just turn golden brown, about 11-14 minutes.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Chip Rye Cookies

Rye makes a very nice flour, and it is surprising how well it works in recipes that call for whole wheat flour. Using it to update a classic recipe like this helps to expand the uses of rye flour. These cookies freeze well, so you can make them in advance and bring them out an hour before serving.

Chocolate Chip Rye Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup Old Mill Rye Flour

1 cup Old Mill Unbleached White Flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup (6 oz) semisweet or bitter-sweet chocolate chunks or chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

Place the rye flour, unbleached flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, beating on low speed until all the flour has been added and the dough is smooth. Fold in the chocolate and pecans. Place the dough in the refrigerator at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop dough on to un-greased baking pans using a 1-inch scoop. Place one pan at a time in the oven and bake until golden brown but still a little soft in the center, 9 to 11 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let cookies cool on a rack until time to serve. These freeze well.

Homemade Pie Crust

This crust is perfect for all pies with a single crust, and fits a 9-inch pie pan.

Homemade Pie Crust

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups The Old Mill White Unbleached Flour, plus extra for rolling

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled

2 tablespoons ice water

Directions:

Place the flour and salt in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Cut the shortening into small pieces and distribute over the flour. Cut into the flour using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Sprinkle water over the mixture and stir with a fork until the mixture holds together. If still crumbly, add a little more water. Form into a ball and place on a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Press down on the ball to flatten, wrap securely, and chill 1 hour.

When ready to bake, place the dough on a lightly floured board and roll to 1/8-inch thickness. This fits into a 9-inch pie pan.