Lemon Cormeal Cookies-Biscotti di Meliga are light and delicate Italian cornmeal cookies that are bursting with lemon flavor and are gluten-free. The perfect cookie to add to your holiday baking collection.
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. Another holiday cookie favorite are these Sicilian “S” cookies and also these Italian Lemon Knot Cookies-Taralli al Limone.
Lemon Cornmeal Cookies-Biscotti di Meliga
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.
My Favorite Italian Christmas Desserts
These Lemon Cornmeal Cookies are part of our Favorite Italian Christmas Dessert series. I recently shared our favorite Italian Lemon Knot Cookies-Taralli al Limone. You can’t miss my Italian mother-in-law’s cherished Nocatole-Calabrian Sweet Fritters recipe. Another can’t miss recipe are these Pitta ‘Impigliata-Calabrian Fruit and Nut Pastries. Soon there will be more to come to make a sweet Italian Christmas!
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.
What gluten-free flour should I use for these Lemon Cornmeal Cookies?
I used King Arthur Flour – gluten free multi-purpose flour for these cookies. Just so you know, I have no affiliation with King Arthur Flour. I know a friend or two that use their GF multi-purpose flour and thought it would be a good one to try to bake some things with during the holidays. You could also use your own custom blended GF flour or use another brand or even use all-purpose flour, the cookies will still be great!
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!
Can I make these cookies with regular all-purpose flour?
Yes! If you aren’t interested in a gluten-free cookie, use your favorite all-purpose flour (or even whole wheat flour) instead.
Did I tell you how much I love these cookies? I love the subtle corn flavor and the sweet buttery aroma. I love the touch of lemon zest and how crumbly and delicate they are and how easy the whole recipe is to put together.
They are so perfect to have for breakfast with your hot coffee (espresso, cappuccino or a relaxing cup of tea). And in the afternoon when you need a relaxing bread, you will find yourself grabbing another one or two with your afternoon coffee (at least I find myself doing that). Go ahead and have one in the afternoon, you deserve a break!
Vintage Savoring Recipes-These Lemon Polenta Cookies are from the SI archives, first published in 2016. All part of a series called Vintage Savoring Recipes. I will be showing some TLC to some amazing recipes you may have missed on the blog. Most of these recipes will have fresh photos and fresher notes.
It’s such a joy for me to revisit a beloved recipe like these Italian Christmas cookies! Hope you enjoy some delicious blasts from the past!
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The nonni just arrived from Italy to stay with us! My mother-in-law will make every sweet and savory Christmas dish from Calabria. Follow me along on my Instagram stories.
Post originally published in December 2016 (recipe is the same)updated on December 16, 2019.
BUON NATALE! XX
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.