Yay for getting in an entry to Food Blogga’s “Eat Christmas Cookies” on the last possible day! At least I have a few hours to go until the midnight cut off… heck, maybe I might even be able to post a few more before then! I’m pretty late with Christmas cookie baking… I made 5 batches of dough yesterday and I will bake them all off today. #1 comes from Gina De Palma’s “Dolce Italiano”… Polenta Cookies from the Veneto, or, Zaletti.
I wanted to make a cookie with cornmeal I had sitting around…and I had never had a cornmeal cookie before! Thus, these cookies were chosen. Plus, another feature I love about cookies… melted butter! I simply mixed everything in the same bowl that I used to melt the butter in.. and my cookie dough was ready. Actually… these aren’t the directions given, but it was a lot easier to mix everything in one bowl, and hopefully it didn’t actually make a difference in the end result.
Also, the recipe originally calls for using currants and grappa, but I had neither of these…so, my version has dried blueberries and brandy. Still turned out great though!
Cookie #1: Thumbs up! I would definitely make these again.
Add some Italian flair to your Christmas cookie assortment this year!
Polenta Cookies from the Veneto
Adapted from Gina De Palma’s “Dolce Italiano”
Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen cookies
3/4 cup dried currants (I used dried blueberries)
Grappa (or brandy) as needed
1 3/4 cups unbleached all·purpose flour
1 cup instant or fine polenta (I used “medium grind” cornmeal and it was fine)
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (I used 1/4 tsp lemon oil)
1. Place the dried fruit you have in a small saucepan, and pour enough brandy to come up at least halfway to the blueberries. Heat until boiling, and then cover and take off the heat. Set aside to let the blueberries plump and cool.
2. Place the flour, polenta, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed for 30 seconds to combine them. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk to break them up, then whisk in the melted butter and lemon zest. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed to combine thoroughly, about 1 minute. Add the currants and their liquid and beat them into the dough on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Remove the dough from the bowl, flatten it into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and chill until it is firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or butter or line them with parchment paper.
4. To form the cookies, use lightly floured fingers to pull off tablespoonfuls of dough and shape each one into a small, plump log about 1 1/2, inches long. Press the log down to flatten it and pinch the ends together to taper them, creating a diamond shape. Place the diamonds on the baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies lightly with granulated sugar.
5. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown around the edges and firm to the touch, rotating the sheets 180 degrees halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 1 or 2 minutes, then use a spatula to remove them gently to a wire rack to cool completely.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.