I’ve said before on the blog that one of my favorite things in the world to bake and eat are sugar cookies. While I do have my old faithful recipe that I always have to fall back on, I’m also always on the lookout for new ways to try them.
So far, I’ve been able. to try and put together a pretty good collection of sugar cookies recipes ont he blog, including these, which are all really tasty: Honey Sugar Cookies, Pillowcase Cookies, Lemon Olive Oil Sugar Cookies, Vanilla Sugar Cookies, Winter Spice Sugar Cookies.
You’d think that by now, I’d have run out of new ways to make/test sugar cookies, but not so. As it turns out, there’s more.
But because I’m typically down to try anything once and because I’m always curious about a new sugar cookie recipe (particularly one that doesn’t have any flour, I decided to give this one a try. One thing that I did appreciate was how much faster the process was.
The masa harina doesn’t need the same amount of time to stiffen/’set up’ as flour does in normal cookie dough, which typically requires an overnight rest in the fridge so the cookies don’t spread into pancakes. This dough was ready after just 45 minutes.
I’ll tell you, these really exceeded my expectations, guys. The dough is relatively easy to roll out and the cookies maintain their shape perfectly while baking. The texture and flavor that the masa gives the cookies is unlike any I’ve had before in a sugar cookie. The cookie itself is both light and slightly chewy, not too sweet, with just a hint of corn-like flavor at the end. The orange glaze on top gives it just enough sweetness to hammer home that this is a dessert, while giving a faint citrus flavor to complement the corn of the masa. Oh; and did I mention that they were gluten free?
Masa Harina Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups Masa Harina plus more for dusting
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar or dark brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons water, cool
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla bean emulsion
- zest (grated rind) of 1 orange
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy
- 3 tablespoons orange juice, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- pinch of salt
In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the masa harina, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Add the butter, egg, water, vanilla, and zest all at once. Using a flexible spatula or the flat beater attachment of the stand mixer, stir to combine all the ingredients. The dough will resemble wet sand.
Working in the bowl, gently knead the dough to form a smooth, cohesive mass, about 1 minute.
Form the dough into a disk about 6″ in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 45 minutes in the fridge. (This allows the masa harina to fully hydrate.)
Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to rest at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes.
While the dough rests, place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment.
Lightly dust your work surface and a rolling pin with masa harina. Roll the dough to 1/2″ thick (roughly 13″ x 8″); the cookies will spread in the oven. If the dough begins to crack, that’s OK; simply press or pinch it back together.
Cut the dough into 2 1/4″ circles and transfer to the baking sheets, spacing about 3″ apart.
Re-roll the dough scraps and cut out additional cookies.
Starting with 2 of the sheets, bake the orange sugar cookies for 10 to 13 minutes, rotating the pans on the racks from top to bottom halfway through baking. The cookies are done when they are lightly golden brown around the edges.
Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
Bake the final sheet of cookies in the top third of the oven for 10 to 13 minutes for best results.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon of orange juice at a time (you may not need to use it all), melted butter, and salt. Slowly add more juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is a stiff, yet spreadable consistency.
Set the wire racks of cookies over parchment-lined baking sheets. Dip the top of each cookie in glaze or spread the glaze across the tops of the cookies with a small offset spatula or teaspoon. Set the cookies aside until the glaze has set, about 30 minutes.
Sharing at Fiesta Friday #497.