I’ve said it before and it bears repeating. Baking is chemistry. Change a few key ingredients or even adjust a ratio or two and you’ve got a bird of a completely different feather. Whenever we wing our way south for the annual family visits, I spend a day fulfilling my baked goodies offerings. The hubby always wants something to munch on while he’s away and since my Dad-in-law also has a sweet tooth (the honeycrisp didn’t fall far from that tree), I try to make something that they both will like. While they both lurrve chocolate, especially sea salt chocolate truffle cookies, Dad-in-law also likes lemon or specifically lemon cake. Unfortunately, is this modern age of TSA-intimacy, cakes don’t travel well so tweak someone’s granny’s recipe and you go from crunchy cornmeal shortbread cookies to cake-y lemon-blueberry cookies. Violà!
Some of the trepidation I’ve had in the past with
adulterating altering baking recipes is that you’re essentially changing reagents in a chemical reaction. Odds are nothing will dramatically combust in a fiery ball of flame (we’ll just gloss over the flaming rum balls of 2003) but your crispety crunchety cookie may be more cakey and fluffy like mine which is fine if that’s the effect you’re looking for. Since the Dad-in-law has high cholesterol and neither of them need the extra calories, I’ve gotten rid of half of the butter and replaced half of it with Greek yogurt. Eh? Apparently Greek yogurt has enough protein and fat in it to act similar to (but not identically like) butter under baking conditions. Compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has twice the protein (~20 g vs 9 g in a 6-oz serving) and about 3 times the fat (16 g vs 5 g per 6 ounces), meaning that you get less fat (and cholesterol and calories, about 43 calories instead of 600 by getting rid of that extra 6 tablespoons of butter, w00t!) but also less crunch. Since it has all the protein and some fat you get less gluten development, giving you get a puffy, cakey cookie. Adding all that zest and lemon juice really makes this cookie citrusy and the cornmeal gives it some texture but if you want a less toothy cookie just omit the cornmeal and use a total of 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour instead, it’s all good. Oh, and the juicy blueberries give you that chewy pop of berry tang with a little texture from the sugar sprinkled on top 🙂
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cornmeal (I used a very fine grind)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp lemon zest (~2 small lemons)
1/4 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c + 1 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1/4 c honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp Greek yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 oz (~2/3 c) dried blueberries
Preheat oven to 375F. If not using silicone baking mats, grease baking sheet(s).
In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar till pale and fluffy. Beat in egg till well combined then mix in honey and vanilla. Mix in half of flour mixture till just combined (no white lumps or streaks visible) then stir in yogurt and lemon juice. Add in remaining flour mixture and blueberries and mix till just combined.
Using a medium-sized (~1 1/2 tbsp) cookie scoop or large spoon, place dough 2-3 inches apart on baking sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with a small pinch of sugar then gently smush them so that the cookies are ~1 1/2-inches thick. Bake till golden ~8-10 minutes. With 8 cookies per baking sheet using a silicone baking mat and convection it takes me 9 minutes. Makes 24 cookies + 1 happy Dad-in-law 🙂
**By executive decree, I’ve decided that since dessert is a reward for good living, I’m not posting nutrition info for them anymore but just in case you’re dying to know, 1 cookie has 100 calories as opposed to the full butter ones which would have 124 calories (24% more!).