The Italians certainly know what to do with corn meal. Take for instance polenta, corn meal cake or zaletti. The latter, if you are not familiar with it, is a corn meal cookie made with rum soaked currants.
But for me a simple corn meal cookie with a bit of vanilla and lemon is all I need to start ironing the linens and scrubbing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees (although I wish I looked more like Sophia Loren while doing that).
These simple corn meal cookies are delightful and have, as my sister said, a "fatto in casa" quality about them. "They're buttery and cake-y... delicate and substantial at the same time, mmmmm" to quote her. And, might I add, they have a rustic finish from the corn meal but the lemon rind adds a hint of sophistication. Perfect with an espresso or a dunk in something stronger, if you know what I mean.
I don't know if it's because I'm just a 135 pound weakling, but I'm not going to lie to you, they were a bit of a bear to pipe out. I ended up using my cookie press with the star tip dye to pipe out. Having said that, I ended up loving the shape and of course you already heard how tasty they are!
corn meal cookies (adapted from Martha)
1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup corn meal
1 cup soft butter
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
rind of one lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and corn meal together in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a stand mixer cream butter and sugar on medium, scraping the bowl as necessary, until light and fluffy. Add egg, yolk, vanilla extract and lemon rind; continue beating for a minute or two. Add flour and corn meal and mix well.
On parchment lined cookie sheets, using a pastry bag or a cookie press with a star tip, pipe out cookies in the shape of an "S". Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Makes 24 to 30 cookies.