Italian Cornmeal Cookies
Warm out of the oven, these simple Italian cookies taste like little discs of toasted cornbread. They’re tender with a pleasantly gritty texture, and not too sweet. I love them best for breakfast with a cup of coffee, but they’re also perfect served alongside a scoop of ice cream or sorbet as a light and elegant summer dessert.
The recipe is based on Zaletti, which are Italian cornmeal cookies typically flavored with vanilla, lemon zest and grappa-soaked raisins. When I made the traditional version for my family, everyone suggested they’d be better plain and I agreed. Chalk it up to American tastes, but this simple vanilla-flavored version was the favorite by far. Just a few ingredients and the flavor of cornmeal really shines through.
Begin by creaming the butter and sugar.
Mix in the eggs, one at a time.
Add the vanilla.
Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Then mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
Chill the dough until it’s cool enough to work with, then pinch off pieces of dough and roll into balls. Place the balls on parchment lined baking sheets and flatten them into discs.
Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until pale on top but lightly browned on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy!
Recipe adapted with modifications from The Italian Baker by Carol Field.
Italian Cornmeal Cookies
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off with knife
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about one minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 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. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Pinch off dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheets and flatten into discs with your hand. 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.
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