Refrescante’s base is a flaky sweet-corn crunch. Filled with Parmesan, cream cheese, lemon and jalapeno, the cookie’s creamy, spicy center creates a wonderful hot-cool sensation. Out of the hundreds of cookies my husband agreeably tasted as I wrote this book, this stands out as his favorite.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
3 large egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, fresh or canned
jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (with juice if canned), divided
1) Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and egg yolks. Beat until well blended.
2) Whisk together flour, cornmeal and salt in a small bowl and add to butter mixture. Beat until just incorporated.
3) Shape dough into 1-inch diameter balls and, using your thumb, press a deep well into each. Place 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until bottoms are golden. Let sit for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
4) In a separate bowl, mix cheeses, remaining 3 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1/4 cup jalapeno until smooth. Adjust consistency with lemon juice so it is soft enough to not crack the cookie when filling. Fill cooled cookies. Using the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos, top each with a small piece of pepper. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container until serving. Best served the day of assembly.
Yields about 2 dozen