Cornmeal Cookies

I don’t know why, but the dining hall on my campus makes sugar cookies that, to me, have a slight hint of cornmeal in them that truly enhances their flavor in a way that I could sit and eat a dozen of them in one sitting.  Ridiculously, then, I thought I should try to recreate that flavor at my house because you should always keep stock of the things you will overeat.  Nevertheless, when I saw this recipe for cornmeal cookies in the Iowa State Fair cookbook, I thought I should try them.  Luckily for me, while they taste great, they don’t quite have that component of I-can’t-put-them-down that the on-campus cookies contain.  A few notes — I didn’t find them to spread nicely, so I ended up flattening some of the cookies in later batches.  I also didn’t include the raisins because I was planning to serve them with an ice cream which I did not believe would be enhanced by raisins.  I did, however, add a sprig’s worth of rosemary to the dough for later batches.

Cornmeal Cookies

Cornmeal Cookies

3/4 c butter or margarine
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c flour
1/3 c cornmeal
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c raisins

Mix butter, sugar, egg, flour, and cornmeal.  Stir in vanilla and raisins.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake in a 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Double-Frosted Bourbon Brownies

My dog Meg has a best dog friend.  She gets along with all the dogs in the neighborhood (or at least those who tolerate her), but has a special adoration for her friend Daisy who lives down the street.

Meg and Daisy hanging out tonight. #thatsmymeg #dogbff #wheatensofinstagram #wheatensofig

A post shared by Gwen Schimek (@gwenschimek) on

Due to a number of different circumstances (mostly working on my doctoral degree), I have not branched out much to get to know the people in the neighborhood until Meg arrived in my life.  I have become 1,000 times more social with the folks around here since that occurred.  As a result, I’ve come to adore Daisy’s owners/parents/insert-preferred-dog-language-here.  As they are getting ready to move away from the neighborhood, each step of the journey has occurred, from selling the house, to one of them finishing up her work last week as the school year ended.  Meg and I wanted to acknowledge the day, but Meg ended up getting sick on the last day of school and so we were delayed by a day in helping her start her celebration of being done with work.  But I think these turned out pretty well.  The bourbon flavor is light, and not overly noticeable.  The recipe came from the Iowa State Fair cookbook.

Double Frosted Bourbon Brownies

Double-Frosted Bourbon Brownies

Brownies:

3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c vegetable shortening
2 Tbsp water
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 c chopped walnuts (I omitted — because I forgot about them entirely)
4 Tbsp bourbon whiskey

White Icing

1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 c powdered sugar

Chocolate Glaze

1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Sift together flour, soda, and salt; set aside.  In a saucepan, combine sugar, shortening, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add flour and walnuts; mix well.  Spread in a greased 9-inch square pan.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 325-degree oven.  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with bourbon; cool.

Icing: Combine butter and vanilla; beat until creamy.  Add powdered sugar; beat until smooth.  Spread over cooled brownies

Glaze: In a saucepan, melt shortening and chips.  Spread over iced brownies.  When glaze has set, cut into squares.

Cranberry Honey Lime Scones

The minute I came across this recipe for Cranberry Honey Lime Scones, I knew I wanted to try making them.  So, for the last several months, this recipe has sat in the queue, waiting for me to find the most obscure ingredient, and then finding a time to make it.  Last week, my opportunity presented itself as we began to celebrate the summer being here at work.  I think the recipe turned out quite well, although the lime became almost overpowering in the recipe.  I’m not sure if my zest got to the pith and became bitter, the oil became bitter, or the lime juice brushed on top became overpowering, but something was a little bit bitter.  I also wondered if a little sprinkle of sugar or some increased honey would balance that out better for me.

That being said, I enjoyed this recipe a lot and would include it on my future recipes-to-make plans.  The recipe came from the Iowa State Fair Prize-Winning Recipes Cookbook.Cranberry Honey Lime Scones

Cranberry Honey Lime Scones

5 c flour
2 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
Zest of 1 lime
15 Tbsp butter
6 oz pkg dried cranberries
1 c heavy cream
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp lime oil
1/2 c honey
1 egg, beaten

Mix flour and baking powder.  Add zest of 1 lime.  Cut in butter in corn size pieces until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Mix in cranberries.  In a separate bowl, mix cream, 2 beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon of the lime juice, lime oil, and honey.  Mix until well-blended.  Add to dry mixture; mix but do not overmix.  Roll out into 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut into circles with biscuit cutter.  Place on floured and buttered baking sheet.  Mix beaten egg and remaining lime juice.  Brush on top of scones.  Bake in 450 degree oven for 13 minutes.

Corn Dip

Every once in awhile, a recipe catches my eye and I know I want to make it.  This recipe, from the Iowa State Fair Cookbook was one such recipe.  I was looking for an off-the-beaten-track dip for chips and the combination of corn, cream cheese, ranch dressing, and other items (and that it was a refrigerated dip, not a heated one, was the right combination to pique my interest.

This was another recipe in the various recipes that I served to the students who came over to my house last month.  If you have a potluck or tailgating event to attend this summer, this may be the recipe you want to throw together.

Corn Dip.jpg

Corn Dip

2 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2.25 oz can chopped ripe olives, drained
1 can whole kernal corn, drained
14 oz can chopped green chilies, drained

Beat together cream cheese and ranch dressing mix.  Add additional ingredients.  Chill several hours and serve with tortilla chips.

Black Pepper Pound Cake

When looking through the Iowa State Fair cookbook a few weeks ago, I was wanting to make some desserts for a group of students coming to visit.  I knew that there was one member of the group who was allergic to chocolate, which made this the perfect opportunity to try out the black pepper pound cake recipe I’d been eyeing for some time.  I didn’t know what to expect — would the pepper seem out of place?  I’ve tasted some great pairings of lemon and black pepper with chocolate, but what would this look like without the chocolate there?  Luckily, the recipe still had lemon flavoring within it.

I have to admit, I was pretty delighted with the taste of the cake.  The black pepper added some spiciness that was unexpected.  With dessert, I do not often think I want something that is hot, but this was a subtle heat that added to the cake, but did not distract from it.

Black Pepper Pound Cake.jpg

Black Pepper Pound Cake

1 c butter, softened
3 c sugar
3 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp lemon extract
6 eggs
3 c flour
1 c heavy cream
Powdered sugar

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in pepper and extract.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour alternately with cream; mix well.  Pour into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.  Bake in 325 degree oven for 70 to 75 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.