It’s December 2, and my Christmas cooking marathon continues with a delectable savory/sweet Cornmeal Cookie filled with Tomato Jam. I originally saw this cookie recipe in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine and every time I make them I have been asked for the recipe. Not only is this cookie delicious, but it also freezes well, so it great to have in the freezer to pop out for drop-in company. It’s also something different other than the usual chips and dip party fare. If this cookie has one downfall, it’s that unfortunately, it’s not for the faint of heart, or short on time cook. I usually make the jam and cookie dough one day, and bake them the next.
You can, however, save time and buy tomato jam at specialty stores or order from Amazon. If you have never had it, you are in for a treat. Savory and sweet at the same time with hints of orange zest, cloves and ginger, it’s wonderful in this cookie and also fabulous on biscuits or spread on BLTs or grilled cheese sandwiches. Its even great as a glaze on chicken, pork or meatloaf. This recipe makes 2 cups, so there is plenty of leftover jam for other culinary creations or another batch of cookies.
To make the jam, gather your ingredients which are: tomatoes, sugar, apple cider vinegar, orange zest and juice, ginger, salt, coriander and whole cloves.
You will need 1 1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes which is 3-4 depending on the size of your tomatoes. To easily peel your tomatoes, bring water to boil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add whole tomatoes and boil for 1 minute to loosen skins. Drain and put in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Once your tomatoes are cool, the skins should come right off. Remove the tomato core and chop into small pieces.
Place your chopped tomatoes in a medium size saucepan and stir in sugar, apple cider vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, grated fresh ginger, salt, ground coriander and 5 whole cloves. (In a perfect world you would have fresh ginger on hand, if not, you can substitute ginger paste found in the refrigerated section of your grocery story where the herbs are, or just use ground ginger.)
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes or until thickened. The smell is heavenly. (Tomatoes naturally have pectin in them which causes the jam to thicken without the addition of any thickening agents.)
Remove from heat and fish out and discard the whole cloves. Mash tomato mixture using a potato masher, or use your immersion blender to get the jam to your desired consistency. I prefer small chunks of tomato in my jam, so I just used a potato masher.
Cool, 20 minutes and store in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Mason jars are ideal.
The cookies have a long list of ingredients, but don’t let this deter you. If you bake at all, you probably already have most everything in your kitchen. To get started, gather your ingredients which include: butter, powdered sugar, 1 egg, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, plain yellow cornmeal, lemon zest, salt, nutmeg, toasted chopped pecans, and granulated sugar. You will also need parchment paper and a cookie sheet.
In your mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and powdered sugar at medium speed 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Crack and separate your egg and add the yolk only and vanilla, beating until well mixed. (Reserve the egg white for later.)
Stir together the flour, cornmeal, lemon zest, salt and ground nutmeg in a small bowl. Put your mixer on low and gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating after each addition until well blended.
Put your dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 3-4 times. Shape dough into a 1-inch thick flat disk.
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. (At this point, you can also freeze the dough for use later.)
When the dough is thoroughly chilled, cut your dough into approximately 1-inch cubes and roll into small balls.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Stir together finely chopped toasted pecans and granulated sugar. Lightly beat your reserved egg whites and add about 1/2 tsp of water. Dip each cookie dough ball into the egg white and then dredge in pecan/sugar mixture. If necessary press the pecan mixture into the cookie dough ball.
Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Using a 1/2 tsp metal measuring spoon, make an indention in each ball.
Bake at 35o degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and using your 1/2 tsp metal measuring spoon press the indention again. Spoon 1/2 tsp of tomato jam in each indention and bake 10 minutes more, or until golden brown.
Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Enjoy!