Tag Archives: cookies

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.

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.

Waste not, want not

“Waste not, want not” has been the Old Mill mantra from the time it was built in 1830.
In its early days when local farmers brought the grains they grew to be milled, they would “pay” the miller with 25 percent of the ground grains. The rest could be used as feed for livestock, or like we do today, it could be used to make whiskey.

“Flours we grind are 100% – Nothing fresher or better anywhere!” Chuck Childers, Head Miller (left)

The Old Mill still carries on that same pioneering ingenuity. Each day, our head miller, Chuck, and his assistant, Delmar Maples (pictured above on right), have to make sure they have enough of the right grains for what’s needed to supply our restaurants, bakeries, and stores, without overproducing. Because the grains are ground fresh with no pesticides or preservatives, they must be packaged and used right away before they spoil or lose their “flour power.” They must be stored carefully, away from sunlight and heat. Chuck advises customers to avoid leaving it in a hot car and, once home, wrapping them airtight and storing in the freezer until ready to use.

Some flour is simply a byproduct of a process, such as grinding grits. When the grits are passed through the sifter to separate the grit from the hull, a dust falls to the bottom of the sifter: Corn Flour. Again, waste not, want not. It’s a great alternative for anyone looking for a gluten-free option in cooking. We use it in many of our signature breading mixes and in our restaurants.

Our Old Mill Restaurant uses over 30,000 pounds of Self-Rising Flour each year, while the Pottery House Cafe bakes mostly with Whole Wheat Flour. The Farmhouse Kitchen and our Creamery like our Plain Flour for cookies, pie dough, pastries and even ice cream cones.

Chuck tells us that he is a big fan of the delicate cookies our General Store manager, Ginger, bakes with Corn Flour. And he’s not the only one, we all love it when she bakes several batches and brings them into work!

Here’s the recipe to try for yourself!

Lemon Corn Flour Meltaway 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 lemon or 2 small)

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-wide log. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough on a second sheet of waxed or parchment paper. Wrap the logs well and chill at least 2 hours.

When ready to bake, 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 bake until they just turn golden brown around the edges, about 11 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Note: You can omit the step of rolling the dough into logs and chilling. Instead, roll the dough out thinly and cut into rounds, then bake.

Chuck and Delmar say it’s National Flour Month all 12 months of the year here at The Old Mill! With the grits, cornmeal, mixes, and flours, they bag over 700,000 pounds of freshness every year. It’s a rare trade, and one they take very seriously. However, if you get into a conversation with them, then all seriousness goes out the window!

“We could tie a Miller’s Knot with our eyes closed and one hand behind our back at this point!”  ~ Chuck

Cornmeal Snickerdoodles

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2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3 cups sugar, divided

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups Old Mill Plain Flour

2 cups Old Mill Plain Unbolted Cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl;  beat at medium speed until creamy.  Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating at low speed just until blended. Beat in vanilla.

Combine Old Mill Plain Flour, Old Mill Plain Unbolted Cornmeal, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon in a large bowl;  whisk to blend.  Add to butter mixture and beat until blended.

Combine remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon in a shallow dish. Scoop cookie dough, by 1/4 cup, and roll into balls.  Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.  Place in freezer until ready to bake.

Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.  Let cool completely on baking sheets on wire racks.

 

Makes 34 cookies