Monday, May 30, 2011

Rustic polenta cookies

I love colorful macarons filled with tasty rich buttercream, chewy chocolate chip cookies studded with nuts and buttery shortbread just as much as the next person. Sometimes however, I want something more simple, more wholesome. A cookie that is not too rich or too sweet, something a little old fashioned, rustic, that I can enjoy with my morning coffee. The kind of hard cookie that softens perfectly when you dunk it into a glass of cold milk without crumbling.

I am a sucker for anything with cornflour/meal in it. I like corn muffins, cakes and cookies, especially when they have an unrefined, almost gritty texture. A friend bought some at a farmer's market a few weeks ago that were perfect: not too sweet, not too delicate, just buttery enough. I was set on replicating them in my kitchen.

When I started hunting for recipes, most of them called for more regular flour than cornflour/meal, but I wanted the latter to really shine through. Then I finally found one that had a higher cornflour/meal content. I tweeked it a little, increasing the minimal amount of butter suggested and using polenta (which is supposedly not ground as finely). Next time I will also cut the sugar, because the cookies were a touch sweet for my taste, but besides that they turned out just right, as Goldilocks would say.

200gr polenta
120gr flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp vanilla extract
130gr sugar (next time I will use less!)
90gr butter
1 egg

Melt the butter and let cool. Whisk the egg with the sugar and butter until smooth and then add in the polenta and the regular flour (after sifting it with the baking powder). Kneed the dough and let rest in the fridge for a half hour and then roll it out between two sheets of baking paper. I found the kneeding a little tricky because I couldn't get the dough to stick together. The recipe I found in a forum called for half the amount of butter but the dough was much too "sandy" to stick so I doubled it. Use a shot glass (like I did) or a cookie cutter, cut out the cookies, lay them on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes in a 360°F/180°C preheated oven.


  1. I love crunchy things too, especially with polenta or semolina; which is why I will make these/

  2. They remind me of a simple short bread cookie. Very yummy!

  3. Mmmm, tempting! And good for you, did you know polenta, and all things corn....are rich in iron :)

  4. These look so lovely and golden! I'm sure they have a wonderful crunch to them too - yum :)

  5. Looks delicious! I love a good crunch :)

  6. ToB - these are right down your alley. Let me know
    MyKintheR - They are not quite as buttery and they are much more grainy, but they look similar.
    Nicole - perhaps my body needs iron since I often crave corn
    Ladybird - hi, so glad to see you are back posting, with lovely news too!
    Miri - Crunchy they are!

  7. I have never had these, but they look so crunchy and delicious! Lovely presentation and pictures too! You can see the sun shining through! :-)

  8. These look wonderful! I love crunchy and polenta!

  9. Manu, Andrea - yes, there is something about the crunch...

  10. I have really been wanting to use cornmeal/polenta in baking cakes and cookies so this post is timely! Love these cookies and I do bet they make the best snack - not too sweet, just perfect! Thanks for a great recipe!

  11. Polenta cookies! Genius. So glad I just stumbled on your blog -- I can't wait to see more of what you're cooking up.

  12. I don't like this kind of cookies, but my family does, so I think recipe could be perfect to be prepared on Christmas Eve.

  13. I don't like this kind of cookies, but my family does, so I think recipe could be perfect to be prepared on Christmas Eve.

  14. I’ve just put the dough together and they came to get her great. Even though the first time I’m trying your recipe, I took your advice and reduced the sugar to 100g. A taste of the raw dough tells me maybe I should reduce it a bit more but we’ll see once they are baked. I really wanted to add lemon zest but didn’t realize until mid-stream that I didn’t have a lemon ! So I added the vanilla and a 1/4 t of lemon ext. They dough is chilling now but I can hardly wait to bake them off. Will report back on how they came out. I’ve made an Italian polenta cookie before which came out good, not too sweet and were funnily addicting but to be honest they were pretty boring/ugly looking so I’ve never made them again. They had a higer flour to polenta ratio so did not have that crunch that I was hoping for from a polenta biscuit. Off to bake.....

    1. Ok, they came out perfectly. I cut them into square cookies just for giggles, they were beautifully cooked right at the 10 mins as noted and I am happy with the 100g sugar for sweetness. Not too sweet at all so I probably would not change that although I think technically you could reduce it to maybe 80g if you really wanted to cut some of the sugar. They had a wonderful crunch and flavor from the cornmeal. Thanks for this great recipe!


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