Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cookie Chaser: Lemon-Cardamom Polenta Cookies

OK!  I have decided that following every downer post, I'm going to post a recipe for dessert.  This is not to say that I encourage eating based on emotion.  (I heartily endorse talking based on emotion, instead.)

But there's no way around it, dessert is cheery.  And we've been making some low-calorie desserts, and there are others I'd like to try.  So for today, here is my Cookie Chaser recipe for Lemon-Cardamom Polenta Cookies.

(Pictured here with strawberry sorbet.)

When searching for dessert recipes for last week's luncheon, I found this recipe in our Cooking Light cookbook, which has lots of interesting dishes I'm looking forward to trying.  We modified the ingredients slightly, and we modified the portion size.

On our recipes, you'll notice that we frequently swap the butter with Earth Balance.  We are big fans of Earth Balance, because it's made from healthy oils, with no trans-fats. Plus, for Tom's benefit, it's vegan!  And on top of that, it just plain tastes good.  You should try it out.

This was my first time working with cardamom, a zesty floral-scented spice that is used frequently in Indian cooking.  I like it, but I thought the cookies turned out heavier on the cardamom than the lemon, so if you'd rather focus on the citrus, I'd reduce the cardamom by half, and double the lemon peel.

These crispy bits of yumminess are a shortbread-style cookie - and prior to making this batch, I had never made shortbread.  I got everything prepped for my stand mixer...

...only to realize that the recipe recommends assembling the dough in the food processor!  Cue kitchen appliance switch-a-roo.

I toasted some almonds for 10 minutes in the oven, at 350, and threw them into the processor to make a fine almond meal.

This is about as fine as my processor will chop the almonds.

Then I added the flour, cornmeal, sugar, lemon rind, cardamom and salt, and spun the processor until everything had combined.  You may want to scrape the bottom corners, as almond meal likes to get stuck there.

Next, I added Earth Balance, water, and egg, and pulsed about 6 times, until it was just combined, and still kind of lumpy.


Then I spritzed my 9-inch springform pan with some Pam, and pressed the mixture lightly into the bottom of it.

It kind of resembles a graham cracker crust, though the cookie is much thicker.

I sprinkled it with a tablespoon of confectioner's sugar, and then popped it into the oven, where it baked at 350° for 30 minutes.


And this step is very important: unlike the Cooking Light recipe, I cut the cookie into 16 wedges, bringing the overall calorie count down to 116 calories instead of 150.  (The smaller cookie is plenty big enough; you wouldn't even notice the difference.)

The cookies were terrific with the sorbet, but I think they'd go marvelously with a glass of Earl Grey or a demitasse of espresso, too.  If you try them out, let me know what you think!

  • 1/4  cup  blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1 1/3  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup  yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  grated lemon rind
  • 3/4  teaspoon  ground cardamom
  • Dash of salt
  • 3  tablespoons butter (we used Earth Balance)
  • 1  tablespoon  water
  • 1  large egg
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  tablespoon  powdered sugar

Nutritional information:
  • Calories:  11
  • Fat:  4.3g
  • Protein:  4.4g
  • Carbohydrate:  12.6g
  • Fiber:  1.0g
  • Sodium:  26.8mg


  1. Dropping by from FMM. This recipe looks delicious!!! I am going to have to try it. Also, your answers for Final Four brought out the loud laughter! Thanks for the smile. :)

  2. Love the ingredient-identifying arrows in that one pic - how'd you do that? Enquiring bloggers want to know!
    PS - I can totally vouch for the deliciousness of this cookie - y'all should definitely try it out!

  3. Wow! This looks absolutely fab! I plan on trying this recipe soon! Thank you!

    And it's nice to "meet you!" =0) I loved your answers on FMM. hehe

    I envy your opportunities to workout with Richard! That's absolutely amazing! =0)

  4. Mmm... That looks TOO good... I'm totally going to make myself one of those.

    Actually. I'm literally going to make it now. I'm sure I have everything I need, and if I don't, I can improvise =D.

    Keep up the good work =D