With only 18 hours in Yakima for the Macklemore show, Seattle’s Robin Wehl of Hello Robin Cookies, had an epiphany for a Valley-inspired cookie while losing herself in some local street corn (Thank you, crafted yakima).
Yakima has always held a special place in my heart. Back in the early 90s, while attending Central Washington University, my friends and I would often road trip to The Palm Springs of Washington in search of food. I wish I could tell you that we were pioneers of the town’s early taco van scene, but the truth is that we’d usually end up at Red Robin, where I had a mild addiction to the burgers.
Twenty years and three kids later Yakima is still one of my favorite Washington hang outs. But it doesn’t have any thing to do with Red Robin. It has to do with fun friends, great wine and local produce that regularly blows my mind.
On my most recent trip, which was a whirlwind, I was determined to make the most of the gorgeous farm stands and come home with at least some local peaches.
Exhausted after a wild night with Macklemore and invigorated by the warm, dry air, my friend and local tour guide, Aileen and I hit Jones Farms and Rosauers in West Valley for some provisions. I think my jaw literally dropped at the price of corn (“Seriously?? $1? for 10?” sounds like a Mackelmore song). And I’m always blown away by the variety, availability and consistent quality of the local produce, including (on this trip) the enormous organic Fujis and the miracle that is a Yakima Valley peach. I loaded up.
My husband Clay and I own a cookie shop in Seattle and my mind is always wandering to the next best flavor combination. The bountiful piles of corn reminded me of a corn cookie I ate years ago. Feeling inspired, I knew I could put this amazing bounty to good use.
So I bought 10 ears.
Back at Aileen’s we used Washington State Darigold Butter and Fisher’s Shepard’s Grain Flour, and inspired by a recipe by Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar, I set out to make a corn cookie using fresh Yakima corn. We fired up the grill and roasted 4 ears for about 20 minutes. We then sliced it off the cob and threw it in the oven for another 15 minutes, at 375 degrees. Dehydrated corn can also be used, (boil corn on cob for a few minutes, then remove from cob and place in a food dehydrator for 8 hours at 130 degrees).
The idea was to capture all that’s best about corn bread and a sugar cookie. It’s a cookie with crispy edges and a soft and chewy middle with the complexity of the roasted corn flavor, and textural chew of the kernel. On par with toffee, the corn brings a savory and healthy twist. An addition of sea salt sprinkled with a few extra kernels added taste and visual appeal. We were shocked when we bit into it and realized we got it right on the first attempt.
Which leads me back to Red Robin. For months, my family and I have been dying to try Cowiche Canyon Kitchen – coincidently designed by Graham Baba, the same architects who designed our shop in Seattle – and now I learn that it’s owned and operated by the Snyder family, who opened the original Red Robin! So we scored a booth and tried their version of Mexican street corn. It was a lovely little blast of Yakima summer, sweet fresh corn, roasted just so, then dusted with chile and salt and kicked up with lime. A perfect little punctuation on another memorable road trip to one of my favorite food towns! Thank you Yakima! We’ll be back soon!
Hello Robin’s Yakima Valley Corn Cookies
Inspired by a recipe from Christina Tosi of Milk Bar
1 c. butter (8 oz)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. flour
2/3 c. finely ground corn flour
1/2 c. dried corn roasted in oven (see notes)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat until combined. Whisk remaining ingredients in separate bowl and add to egg, butter and sugar mixture. Spoon small balls of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet, bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes until the edges are brown and centers are set. Do not over bake.
Thank you, Robin! Rooted loves your take on our Valley! To our readers, next time you’re in Seattle stop in and visit Hello Robin at 522 19th Ave E. Try any one of her amazing line of hand-made cookies, and if you’re feeling indulgent pair them with some Molly Moon ice cream.