I always have a couple of logs of slice and bake cookie dough in my freezer. They keep well for months (as long as you wrap them tightly and store them in an airtight bag or other container) and they are ready to bake at a moment’s notice. Since the cookies are so uniform in size, they can be used to make ice cream sandwiches and other treats, as well as simply serving as a snack themselves. I typically have at least one chocolate roll of dough in my freezer and one vanilla roll, and during the summer, it is likely to be a roll of my Vanilla Bean Cornmeal Slice and Bake Cookies.
These cookies are light and buttery, with a tender shortbread texture that almost allows the cookies to melt in your mouth. I say “almost” because the cornmeal adds a little bit of crunch to the cookies, giving them a sandier mouthfeel and making them seem a bit more substantial as you eat them. While I do add some vanilla extract to the cookies, I also used a real vanilla bean to infuse the dough with some lovely floral vanilla notes. The cookies are so simple that that vanilla really comes through after baking.
This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies, but the beauty of a slice and bake recipe is that you don’t need to bake all those cookies at the same time. You can simply slice off as many, or as few, as you need and bake them as you go. If you do bake a large batch, the cookies will keep quite well in an airtight container for several days after baking. Since they are crisp and shortbread-like, they keep a bit better than chewy cookies do.
Vanilla Bean Cornmeal Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean
In a small bowl, stir together flour and cornmeal.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Blend in salt and vanilla extract. Split the vanilla bean down the center, scrape out the seeds and add them to the butter mixture. With the mixer at a low speed, blend in the flour mixture. The dough may seem dry at first, but it will come together as you mix it.
Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a rough log about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Place each log onto a sheet of wax paper, and roll the logs gently until they are well-wrapped and relatively smooth.
Chill dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice cookie dough logs into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, until cookies are set and have a hint of brown at the edges. Cool cookies for 2-3 minutes on a baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 4 dozen.