Italian Polenta Cookies

italian polenta cookies
Photo: Antonis Achilleos
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

Polenta, which is made from cornmeal, is a staple in northern Italy. To achieve an authentic texture, use imported polenta, which is available in most Italian markets and specialty-food stores.


  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup Italian polenta, or yellow cornmeal

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

  • cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, (1 lemon)

  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, polenta, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  2. Add egg and egg yolk, one at a time, beating after each addition to combine. Mix in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip (such as Ateco No. 826).

  3. Pipe S shapes about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake cookies until edges are golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to wire racks; let cool about 10 minutes. Remove cookies from parchment, and transfer to racks to cool completely.

Cook's Notes

Try Polenta Bramata, or any dry, grainy coarse-ground cornmeal or polenta. Regular cornmeal from the supermarket is more finely ground, and will yield cookies with a slightly different texture.

Cook's Notes

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.


Martha used a pastry bag fitted with a 7/16-inch star tip (such as Ateco #825), and before baking, chilled the sheet of cookies in the freezer for 30 minutes.

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