Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing

Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing  |  Life Currents Lemon Pine Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce

Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing

The story of the Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing or Birthday Dessert 2014! Many of you know that my wonderful husband makes a special birthday dessert for me each year. He does this out of love, and to pay me back for all the stuff I make throughout the year. So, I get to pick ANY dessert I want, and he makes it. ANY dessert!

Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing  |  Life Currents Lemon Pine Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce

The Lemon Pine Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce (look below for pictures of my awesome husband working on the tart!) … the dessert that started this whole thing!

Some years have been really really successful! Like the Lemon Cloud Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce, and the Red Bean Crepes. Some years have been way too much work but still super tasty, like the Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake.

But, never has a dessert not been tasty. That is, until now.

This year I asked him to make a Lemon Pine-Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out quite like I thought it would. The Coffee Caramel Sauce was just slightly off in flavor. I think because it was made with lemon juice it was a bit on the sour side. So, in the future, I’d just make my Salted Caramel Sauce and toss in a little espresso powder. Yum!

And, as for the tart itself, it was really sour, and pretty much not edible. I was really sad that he had worked on this lovely tart and it didn’t taste good. But, the crust was great! Really yummy with a nice grainy cornmeal texture. We both really liked the crust. That got me thinking that the crust could be made into cookies. Now we can salvage this whole experience!

I made the first batch of cookies and we really liked them, but I thought they looked a little plain with no garnish. So, as we stood around nibbling on cornmeal cookies we talked about how we could bump them up a bit. I suggested using the pine nuts as a garnish on top of the cookie. Or maybe sprinkle them with powdered sugar. It was Dan who suggested that we drizzle icing on them. Oh, I know, incorporate the original recipe back in a bit and make it lemon icing! Winner winner!

Well, they are super yummy as Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing. Just the right amount of sweetness. A nice texture. The brightness of the lemon and the soft flavor of the cornmeal. MMMM! I’m so glad that with a little finagling we were able to salvage a not so great dessert into a real winner!

Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing  |  Life Currents Lemon Pine Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce

Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing
Serves 40
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85 calories
14 g
15 g
3 g
1 g
2 g
22 g
16 g
7 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 85
Calories from Fat 23
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 16mg
Total Carbohydrates 14g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 7g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup coarse cornmeal
  3. ½ cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. ¼ teaspoon fine grain salt
  6. ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  7. 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  8. 2-4 tablespoons ice water
Lemon Icing
  1. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  2. 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  1. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor; pulse several times. Add butter; process until mixture is the consistency of coarse meal, about 7 seconds. With motor running, add yolks and enough ice water so dough comes together. Do not overmix.
  2. Divide dough in half. Place each half on an 8x12-inch sheet of parchment paper. Roll in parchment to form a log 1 ¼-inches in diameter. Refrigerate logs until cold and firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° F. Remove parchment paper from dough, and cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Space rounds 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 10 minutes.
  4. Carefully remove cookie trays from oven and place tray with cookies on it on a wire rack to cool. The cookies will continue to cook a little and harden up. Once cookies have cooled slightly 3-5 minutes, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. While cookies are cooling, make icing by combining lemon juice and powdered sugar, stirring well with a whisk or fork.
  6. Once cookies have cooled, drizzle lemon icing over the top. Store cookies in an airtight container.
  1. I didn’t count the cookies after I baked them because we baked them up a few batches at a time, but I think there were about 40 cookies total.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Life Currents
Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing  |  Life Currents Lemon Pine Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce

Thinly slicing the lemons for the tart

Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing  |  Life Currents Lemon Pine Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce

arranging the lemon slices to macerate them in sugar

Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing  |  Life Currents Lemon Pine Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce

Placing the macerated lemon slices in the cornmeal crust

Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing  |  Life Currents Lemon Pine Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce

The top crust has been placed on the tart. Brushing the crust with the milk wash

Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing  |  Life Currents Lemon Pine Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce

Isn’t the Lemon-Pine Nut Tart beautiful!

Cornmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing  |  Life Currents Lemon Pine Nut Tart with Coffee Caramel Sauce

Action shot! He’s making the Coffee Caramel Sauce. You can see the caramel recipe in the background.


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  1. says

    OMG lemon pine nut tart- TO DIE FOR! Yummmmmm! The cornmeal cookies sound amazing! Girlchef recenly made a similar cookie, though it was a sandwich version- all looks amazing! May try the tart! YUM! I love pine nuts too!

  2. says

    Thanks Sophia. I warn you though, that tart was really sour. We didn’t finish it at all. If you do try it, drain out the liquid from the macerated lemons.

  3. Toby Colton says

    I make a Meyer Lemon pie that is very similar to the filling in your failed tart. Please try again with this recipe, which I think came from Saveur, or your own adaptation. I think it would work wonderfully well. Having the whole slice is a treat. I do quarter the slices for easier eating.
    Thanks for the cookie recipe, It looks wonderful.
    Shaker Lemon Pie
    4 smallish meyer lemons =2c sliced then follow below except 10” pan I had trouble with the instructions that said 2 large lemons, when I made it I used the 4 smallish and that equaled 2c sliced. This way I could quantify the lemon amount.

    Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer
    This sourish pie, with its marmalade-like filling, is said to have been a specialty of the Ohio branch of the Shaker community.
    2 large lemons (I used meyer lemons as they are sweeter)
    2 cups sugar
    1/4 tsp. salt
    4 eggs
    4 tbsp. butter, melted
    3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
    FOR THE CRUST: or your favorite crust recipe, I used vodka from Cooks Illustrated
    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. salt
    10 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
    2 tbsp. vegetable shortening
    I don’t grate the zest, I just slice them very thin discard seeds. I cut the slices in quarters for easier eating
    1. For the filling: Thoroughly wash lemons, then dry with paper towel. Finely grate lemon zest into a bowl. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice lemons very thin; remove and discard seeds. Add slices to zest and toss with sugar and salt. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.
    2. For the crust: Sift flour and salt together into a large mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter or 2 table knives to work butter and shortening into flour until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle in up to 5 tbsp. ice water, stirring dough with a fork until it just begins to hold together. Press dough firmly into a rough ball, then transfer to a lightly floured surface. Give the dough several kneads with the heel of your hand to form it into a smooth ball. Divide dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    3. Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk eggs in bowl until frothy. Add butter and flour, whisking until smooth. Stir into lemon mixture.
    4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into two 12″ rounds. Fit one round into a 9″ pie plate and pour in filling. Cover pie with remaining pastry round. Fold edges of dough under, then crimp edges. Cut steam vents in top crust. Bake until edges begin to brown, about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake until crust is golden brown, 25–30 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

  4. says

    Way to salvage a recipe that wasn’t quite what you hoped! So clever. And these cookies sound so good, can’t wait to try!

  5. says

    These cookies look wonderful. I always love it when you get something new out of something that failed. They are just beautiful!

  6. KC Kahn the Kitchen Chopper says

    Wow, I’ve never seen cornmeal in cookies! I’ll bet the texture is scrumptious. Who doesn’t love #lemon? Thanks Debi!

  7. says

    I’ve been seeing a lot of cornmeal cookies around the web. These look great and I love that they have a lemon accent. I’ve got a few Meyer lemons hanging out in the fridge yet. This might be the recipe to use them up on! :)


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