Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don’t Care

IMG_9221Raised by an Iowan mother, I learned very early on that corn was like candy: grilled on the cob and smothered in butter in the summer, creamed into sweet casseroles with saltine cracker crusts for Thanksgiving dinner, and toppled in kernels over mashed potatoes next to meat loaf and barbecued ribs for dinner. My very favorite corn dish of all time was a hot steaming corn bread muffin, studded with jalapeno and drizzled with honey.

Even though I had been raised on the proper applications of the cob, I rejected corn in my early thirties, much like large amounts of sugar, empty carbs, white flour and candy, when high fructose syrup became touted as the root of all evil and corn started getting a bad rap. After a good solid decade without the golden vegetable, I slowly but surely, over the course of the last five years, opened my heart up to corn again. Part of this was due to the Cute Gardener’s crops that, although few and far between each season, produce an ear you can eat right off the stalk. Freshness like that is hard to argue with, criticize or ban. A bonafide lover of that distinct corn taste was reborn and I have come to eat my corn in moderation always seeking out special ways to do so.

Last year, after the CG took a business trip to New York he brought back Christina Tosi-created cookies from the Momofuku Milk Bar per my pleading request. Amidst the decadence of the Chocolate Chocolate and Blueberry Cream cookies was a perfect specimen called simply Corn. It was a beautiful dense disk the color of the sun, not too sweet and chewy in the middle while the edges remained crisp and buttery. It tasted like my favorite varieties of corn bread yet tarted up with the richness of burnt sugar. I fell head over heels in love and wanted another one ever since.

This year when the CG returned from his annual business trip, to my delight, he carried a box in his hands of the very mix to make these beautiful corn cookies. So, although I heartily wolfed down the indulgent corn flake chocolate marshmallow and compost cookies that were new to me this year from Momofuku, and equally phenomenal, it was the night he baked the corn cookies that made me swoon the most. They came out from the oven as if they were on crack. I carefully apportioned out my half of the dozen made so that I would be able to savor one per evening for six nights.

Unfortunately, I made a trip to my hometown with my bag of allotments in tow and my family and friends scavenged them up like a flock of vultures. Fortunately, I was able to find a recipe online for the cookies so that I can have them anytime I want. That is, if I am extra sweet to the CG, since he is the baker of our bunch.

Momofuku Milk Bar Corn Cookies
Makes 13 to 15 cookies

2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1-1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup corn flour
2/3 cup freeze-dried corn powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.

2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Using a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature– they will not bake properly.

4. Heat the oven to 350°F.

5. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center; give them an extra minute if not.

6. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a
plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will
keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.




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