Italian Polenta Cookies

Italian Polenta Cookies

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I lately discovered myself with an excessive amount of positive polenta on my arms that I’d gathered for some recipe testing. Grocery shops in France carry polenta (often on the spot), and corn flour might be discovered at pure meals shops, however there usually are not many issues made with cornmeal within the canon of French delicacies. So once I need to make a recipe that requires cornmeal, I purchase semoule de maïs positive, accessible at my native magasin bio or épicerie orientale, a catch-all time period for shops that promote meals for Center Jap cooking.

It additionally provides me an opportunity to go to the Center Jap meals store, the place I all the time spent means too lengthy prowling the aisles, and for some cause, I all the time come dwelling with much more issues than what I initially went in there for.

She wasn’t Center Jap, however by some means, discovering myself with an excessive amount of cornmeal on my arms, I used to be reminded of pastry chef Gina DePalma, who typically baked with it. Everybody who knew Gina had tales. She was frank and forthright, and few have captured the spirit of Italian desserts in addition to Gina did as a pastry chef and baker, and as a cookbook creator. (Carol Area did it nicely in The Italian Baker, one other basic e book on Italian baking, as did Nick Malgieri in Nice Italian Desserts.)

While you speak to folks within the baking world, particularly individuals who labored together with her, their eyes widen as if they’re nonetheless being watched by her. Gina was the proverbial force-to-be-reckoned-with, and I like folks like that.

I can’t say we had been very shut mates, however we bonded as bakers are likely to do. We’d met in New York and have become pen buddies simply when she determined to pack all of it up and transfer to Rome. A number of months later, she realized that she had a very aggressive type of most cancers and returned to the U.S. We stored in contact through the years through some emotional emails, and finally she left us. However each now and again, I pull her e book, Dolce Italiano, off the shelf and flick thru it. And all that cornmeal gave me one more reason to.

I’ve made Zaletti (cornmeal cookies) earlier than, as a result of I like them a lot. Really, any time a dessert has cornmeal in it, I appear to need it. I like the flavour and the crunch, however I additionally like the way it leans the dessert within the savory route.

Like many Italian pastries, these fall into certainly one of two classes; Some are fairly candy, and others usually are not very candy in any respect. I are likely to go for the latter and these diamond-shaped polenta cookies fall squarely into the less-sweet class.

The dough could be very simple to place collectively and it’s enjoyable to kind the diamond-shaped cookies.

The cookies do are likely to unfold a bit throughout baking. However as soon as baked, they’re good with a day espresso or cup of tea, or a glass of vin santo (candy Italian wine) or Amaro, the bitter digestive, after dinner. I’ve been recognized to interrupt into a number of for breakfast as nicely, which I don’t assume Gina would have minded.

Polenta Cookies

Print Recipe

As an alternative of the eau-de-vie or grappa, you might use amaretto or one other liqueur that you’ve got readily available. In case you are avoiding alcohol, you might use extra water or sizzling tea for the three tablespoons of eau-de-vie.I used positive polenta, however if in case you have common polenta readily available, you might use that. Equally, it’s going to in all probability work with stone-ground cornmeal, though it is best to make use of one which’s coarsely floor for max crunch.Though these get formed into diamonds, you might roll them out and lower them into shapes utilizing a cookie cutter.

Three tablespoons water

Three/four cup (90g) dried currant or one other dried fruit, reminiscent of chopped cranberries or cherries

Three tablespoons eau-de-vie or grappa

1 Three/four cups (250g) flour

1 cup (160g) positive (or on the spot) polenta

Three/four cup (150g) granulated sugar, plus extra for ending the cookies

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1 giant egg

1 giant egg yolk

eight tablespoons (4oz, 115g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

grated zest of 1 lemon

1. Warmth the water in a small saucepan till it begins to boil. Flip off the warmth and add the currants, or different dried fruit, and liqueur. Put aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour. (They are often plumped a day or two prematurely.)

2. Within the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, polenta, sugar, salt and baking powder. (You may as well make this dough in a big bowl, stirring with a wood spoon or spatula.)

Three. In a medium bowl, combine collectively the egg and the egg yolks, then stir within the melted butter and lemon zest. Add the egg combination to the dry components and stir collectively for a couple of minute, till they’re well-combined. Add the currants and any liquid, and beat them in at medium velocity for about 30 seconds.

four. Take away the dough from the bowl, wrap it in plastic wrap, flatten it right into a disk, and chill till agency, about an hour. (The dough might be made 2-Three days prematurely, and baked later.)

5. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC.) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

6. On a flippantly floured countertop, pinch off tablespoon-sized items of dough, roll them into little logs (you might must flour your arms because the dough is sticky), then press the logs gently to flatten them a bit, and pinch the ends to taper them. Place them on the baking sheet about an inch (3cm) aside, to permit for some spreading. Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar.

Bake the cookies till golden brown throughout the highest, about 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets within the oven halfway throughout baking. Let the cookies cool for a couple of minutes, then switch them to a cooling rack.

Storage: The cookies might be stored as much as one week in an hermetic container at room temperature.

Crispy, crunchy Italian polenta cookies

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