This is the time of year where every cookie recipe I have baked or dreamed of baking gets created in my kitchen. These lemon polenta cookies (biscotti di meliga) are a cookie favorite any time of the year, but are especially lovely to add to your holiday cookie baking list.
The cookies are from the Piedmont region of Italy. They came about during tough economic times in Italy when it was cheaper to bake with ground cornmeal than with flour. The bakers substituted a portion of the wheat flour with a portion of finely ground cornmeal. I decided to give these cookies a go with gluten-free flour. As with many cookies in Italy, these are paired with a wine. In the Piedmont region where they were created, you would typically enjoy them with glass of moscato d’Asti for dessert. As it is with any traditional food in Italy, you could pick up these cookies at many grocery stores and if you are lucky to be visiting the Piedmont region, try them from a local bakery. In the meantime, bake your own at home.
They really are so easy to put together and if you don’t have the time to pipe them out with a star shaped tip (as I was going to do and then was rushing), you could make them like I did. I even found a recipe for a
polenta sheet cookie that you just break apart (talk about fun and easy!). The point is, you have to make these cookies…they are just delicious! And if you aren’t interested in a gluten-free cookie, use your favorite all-purpose flour (or even whole wheat flour) instead.
LEMON CORNMEAL COOKIES-BISCOTTI DI MELIGA
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups gluten-free flour multi-purpose flour or use regular all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder gluten-free
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about one minute. Add the lemon zest and juice, mixing until incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool enough to handle, about one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Pinch off dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Place balls on parchment lined baking sheets and flatten into discs with your hand. Press down gently on the cookies with a fork. Bake for 13-16 minutes, until cookies are pale on top and lightly golden on the bottom. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioner's sugar.