In Flavor Flours (Artisan Books, 2014), Alice Medrich brings her legendary skill and impeccable palate to non-wheat flours. These flours can be used artfully, not just as replacements for wheat flour, and Medrich presents nearly 125 recipes that showcase the unique qualities of a variety of ancient grains, coconut flour, and nut flours. The following excerpt is from chapter 3, “Corn Flour and Cornmeal.”
These light, dry, super-crunchy corn cookies are subtly sweet to start with. Drizzle them with a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle them with flaky salt — with or without sweet, hot, or smoky paprika — and you’ve got an addictive savory snack or cocktail bite.
• 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (110 grams) corn flour
• 3/8 cup (75 grams) sugar
• Generous 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 large eggs, at room temperature
• Heavy skillet at least 12 inches wide
• 8-inch square baking pan, bottom lined with parchment paper
• Stand mixer with whisk attachment or handheld mixer
• Baking sheet
1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet. Take it off the heat, add the corn flour, and stir to coat all of the flour grains with butter. The mixture will have the consistency of slightly damp sand. Return the skillet to the stove and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula or fork; scrape the bottom and sides of the pan, turning the flour, and spread or rake to redistribute it continuously so that it toasts evenly. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture colors slightly and smells toasted; it may begin to smoke a little. Toasting the flour will take 4 to 6 minutes. Scrape the flour into the lined baking pan and spread it out to cool while preheating the oven.
2. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Combine the sugar, salt, baking powder, and eggs in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer). Beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick and light. Poke and mash any large lumps in the toasted flour and then pour it over the egg mixture. Fold just until evenly mixed. Scrape the batter into the lined baking pan and spread it evenly; it should be a thin layer only about 1/2 inch deep.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and springy to the touch. Cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Slide a slim knife around the edges of the pan to detach the baked sheet. Invert the pan onto a rack and peel off the liner, then turn the sheet right side up on a cutting board. Cut it in half lengthwise with a sharp serrated knife. Cut each half crosswise in slices a scant 3/4 inch wide. Arrange the slices slightly apart, standing up, on an unlined baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Rotate the sheet from front to back about halfway through the baking time.
5. Cool the sticks completely before storing. They may be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.
Brown Butter Toasted Corn Sticks with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt
After baking, drizzle corn sticks with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with pinches of flaky sea salt (if the flakes are very large, crush the pinches slightly before sprinkling).
Brown Butter Toasted Corn Sticks with Smoky Paprika
After baking, drizzle corn sticks with extra-virgin olive oil, as directed above, followed by pinches of smoked sweet or hot paprika.
More from Flavor Flours:
Reprinted with permission from Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours by Alice Medrich and published by Artisan Books, 2014.