Slice and bake sugar cookies are so much fun to play around with. If you can dream it up, you can throw it in sugar cookies. This time around I chose sweet dried apricots and cornmeal for crunch.
I always have a log of sugar cookie dough stashed in the freezer for those moments when I need a quick birthday gift. Note about me: I terrible at remembering birthdays. I absolutely LOVE birthdays, but selfishly, only seem to remember my own. I’m pretty sure this makes me a jerk. For this, I am sorry.
Apricot and cornmeal turned out to be a glorious combination for sugar cookies. I love the flavor of the plump apricot chunks, and the cornmeal adds an unexpected texture. The cookies have a lovely crunch to them. These cookies are just begging to me matched with a warm cup of black tea.
And! Bonus! The dough keeps very well in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to 2 months! So if you forgot your best friend’s birthday, just bake up a few of these beauties and no one will be the wiser.
Incidentally, if you’ve ever received a box of sugar cookies from me for your birthday…. well, now this is just awkward… yea. Awkward.
Apricot Cornmeal Cookies
adapted from Dorie Greenspan
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick, plus 2 Tablespoons (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
heaping 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and cornmeal together.
3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for a minute or so, until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat for about 2 minutes until mixture is light and pale.
4. Add the egg and yolk and beat for another minute or two. Beat in the vanilla.
5. Reduce the mixer to low speed and steadily add the flour mixture, mixing only until it has been incorporated. Because the dough is best when it is worked the least, you might want to stop the mixer before the flour is thoroughly blended into the dough, and finish the job with a rubber spatula. When mixed, the dough will be soft, creamy and malleable.
6. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide in half. To make slice-and-bake cookies, shape each half into a chubby sausage (about 2 inches in diameter) and wrap in plastic. The dough must be chilled or at least two hours. (Well wrapped the dough can be refrigerated fir up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 months.)
Getting Ready to Bake
1. Center the rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
2. Use a sharp, thin knife to slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, and place the rounds on the baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2-inches of space between the cookies.
3. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheet at the midpoint. The cookies should feel firm, but they should not color much, if at all. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies rest 1 minute before carefully lifting them onto a rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.