Amanda & Merrill

Lime Cornmeal Biscotti

March 30, 2010

- Merrill

Yesterday, Amanda and I were in Boston and dropped by one of my old stomping grounds, Flour Bakery and Cafe in the South End. I worked there for a short while when I lived in Boston and was eager to catch up with the owner, Joanne Chang, with whom I have been tweeting as of late but hadn't actually seen in a couple of years.

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Radiant, and generous as always with both her time and her baked goods, Joanne chatted with us for a bit and then sent us on our way with a box chock full of various sweet treats. Tucked in among the chocolate  was one of my longtime favorites, Flour's cornmeal lime cookie. As Amanda and I were munching away, I thought about trying to replicate the cookie's bright, warm flavors, along with the delicate crunch that you only get from cornmeal. 

Since I've made Claudia Fleming's recipe for Cornmeal-Nut Biscotti (with orange zest, rosemary and anise) from The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern many times successfully, I thought that would be a good place to start. Joanne's cookies are much softer than biscotti, but I thought I'd be able to achieve the same basic mix of textures and flavors. By keeping to Claudia's technique but removing the nuts and replacing the other flavorings with lime zest, I'd keep the biscotti simple, finishing them off with a nice, tart glaze. 

Let me know what you think!

Lime Cormeal Biscotti

Makes about 24 biscotti

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • zest of 2 limes, divided in half
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the zest of one lime. Set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and baking soda. (You may want to use an electric mixer on low speed for the next few steps.)

3. Stir in two of the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the cooled butter and combine thoroughly. Let the dough sit for a few minutes.

4. Line two cookie sheets with parchment. Divide the dough in half, and with wet hands, mold each half into a long, thin log about 1 inch wide. Place one log in the center of each cookie sheet (the dough will spread significantly while cooking).

5. Lightly beat the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush the top and sides of each log with the egg and bake until golden brown, 20-30 minutes. Let the logs cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, and lower the oven heat to 200 degrees.

6. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the slices on the parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for about an hour, until crisp. Cool completely on wire racks before making the glaze.

7. For the glaze, stir together the zest of the second lime, the confectioners' sugar and the lime juice. Drizzle this over the biscotti while it is liquid (it will start to crust if you let it sit for too long).

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Lady G. April 4, 2010
ooh I definitely want to try this recipe. I simply LOVE the lime cornmeal cookies at Flour, and I am waiting patiently for Joanne Chang's Flour cookbook to be published- can't wait to bake my way through all of my favorites. I will get a jumpstart by making this biscotti version and will let you know how it goes when I get a chance to get back into the kitchen!
Merrill S. April 4, 2010
Ah, another Flour devotee...Let me know how the biscotti turn out!
TheWimpyVegetarian March 30, 2010
These sound so interesting! I've never combined cornmeal and citrus - so obviously very deprived here. I've got to try them - right after I make another batch of your wonderful shortbread experimenting with another herb combination to pair with strawberry curd. Oh, and my jeans are a little tighter today, but worth it!
leslie L. March 30, 2010
Please add me to the "looks delicious" column. Also the one about all cookied out - except it's actually maple tarts and now a multi-tradition synthesis Easter bread that (as you can tell!) does not yet have a name.
mrslarkin March 30, 2010
Looks yummy! I love cornmeal with citrus. Afraid I'm all cookie'd out right now. This one's a keeper, though. Thanks, Merrill.
Merrill S. March 30, 2010
You're welcome. Although, it's really thanks to Joanne and Claudia!