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From the Pastry Chef: Cornmeal Thumbprints

Written by Chef Marlo

I decided I would continue on the cookie train and walked around the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market for inspiration. Having grown up [proudly] in New Jersey, I realized our state’s summer staple, corn, could be a wonderful complement to other seasonal flavors. Some quick research later, the trusty Martha Stewart collection turned up a great option: cornmeal thumbprints. These cookies were so fast and easy to whip up that I know I’ll be making them frequently.

A quick dough comes together beautifully and fragrant with freshly grated lemon. Then the only time consuming part of the preparation is portioning the dough to shape into balls that you roll in sugar before creating an indentation your thumb and baking. Within minutes you have freshly baked thumbprints awaiting something to fill the cute dimples.

While the cookies cooled, I searched for that something that would balance out the flavors. I decided that the mixed berry jam that I made last year (yay for preserves!) would be the perfect sweet and tart foil to the cookies’ rich batter.

How did they come out? Every single cookie was consumed within 24 hours. So, there’s that.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cookies: Whisk together flour, cornmeal, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and 1/4 cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest, vanilla and egg yolk and mix well. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix until just combined. (If a little dry here, add 1/4 teaspoons of water until mixture just comes together)

Lightly whisk egg white. Scoop 2 teaspoons dough, and roll into a ball. Dip into egg white, and roll in remaining 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar. Repeat with remaining dough; transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart, as you work. Gently press center of each ball with your thumb. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until pale golden, 15 to 17 minutes. Gently indent each cookie again using the handle end of a wooden spoon. Transfer sheets to wire racks, and let cool. (Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.)

Once cool, fill each thumbprint indentation with jam