Maria Speck's Ancient Grains for Modern Meals has been inspiring me to get some new whole-grain dishes into our routine. Yes, I have been using it for hearty entrees like the delicious rice dish we had for dinner. I have also been using the dessert section at the back. It has some real gems. This cookie recipe is based on her Orange-Rosemary Cookies with Olive Oil. These sophisticated little cookies are somewhat reminiscent of biscotti, but smaller and without the need for twice-baking. Plan ahead because the dough needs to chill at least an hour after it is mixed.
Orange Mint Biscuits
3/4 Cup flour
1/4 Cup cornmeal
1/2 Cup hazelnut meal
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons sugar
Start with the orange. Finely grate the zest (a micoplane grater works well for this) and set it aside. Then squeeze the orange for 1/4 juice. Set that aside too.
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, hazelnut meal and baking powder in a big bowl. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl vigorously whisk together the oil and brown sugar. The brown sugar will begin to dissolve after a minute. Then whisk in the orange zest, orange juice, mint and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until incorporated.
Put a good sized piece of parchment paper on the counter (you'll want at least a foot of it). Scrape the dough on the parchment paper. Form it into a long log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll the log up in the parchment paper and park the tube of dough in parchment paper in your freezer for an hour or so.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the turbinado sugar on a small bowl or saucer. Unwrap the log of dough. Slice it into rounds 1/2 inch thick. Gentle press one side of each round of dough into the sugar and then place it on the baking sheet. Space them at least an inch apart.
Bake for 16 minutes. Then remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Wait a few minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. They'll firm up as they cool.
Variations: The recipe by Maria Speck that was my inspiration called for almond meal and fresh rosemary. I use hazelnut because my spouse is allergic to almond. I have used either rosemary or mint, depending on which I have had in the kitchen when I want to bake. Make these twice and try each. They are both good.