Cornmeal Cookies, Italian Style, are inspired by a famous Italian cookie made of cornmeal, with a soft interior and a crunchy exterior, perfect in the morning to be dunked in a cappuccino or tea, in pure Italian fashion.
Song of the day: Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam.
Such a beautiful deep yellow color, these Cornmeal Cookies, Italian style, round and bright as a full sun that shines high in a Spring blue sky.
Not the case, unfortunately, on this side of the world, where gray and gloomy skies, with a touch of white from random snowflakes, continue to unfold one day after another. We are in full Spring as per season, but nobody reminded Mother Nature of that, ’cause she seems lost in her thoughts and forgot to switch the season channel.
For those of you that follow my ramblings, this impossible, dreadful weather is affecting me profoundly, and I cannot help but talk about it and all the ways I contrive to hold it together. In Rome Spring has started early, here, by the time Spring will come (they will call it Summer, but for me, it’s not), give it a couple of months and Winter will come again (taking Autumn right out of the picture). It is not only the lack of warmth that affects me, it is also the lack of color all around me. It seems I am trapped in a sepia cartoon.
Baking is one of my cures for the gray blues, and today, it’s Cornmeal Cookies, Italian style time.
If you know something about Italian families and their breakfast habits, you know that the colazione (breakfast) is very dissimilar from the North American savory “feast” with a high protein content. There are no eggs at breakfast, eggs are consumed at lunch or supper, and definitely no bacon, pancetta is reserved to making Carbonara. From North to South Italy, typically, breakfast is made of a beverage, like cappuccino or caffe’ espresso, occasionally tea, orzo, or ginseng (which has gained popularity lately), with something sweet to eat, like cake, cookies, pastries, brioches, croissants, bread and jam/chocolate spread, or in Sicilian-style, brioche and gelato or granita. Many people like to eat out for breakfast on their way to work or school, but not at a drive-through, instead, they stop in the plentiful bars & cafés for a cappuccino and pastry, often standing at the counter. When at home, cereal in milk or yogurt is an option, although not as common, while homemade or store bought pastries and small breakfast cookies are king. I have made some breakfast cookies before, here, here, and here and explained that they are a family favorite. We all love to dunk cookies in our cappuccino, but my dad has his own way: he breaks all the cookies that he can possibly fit in his big caffellate mug and then eat the soaked cookies by the spoonful. A pleasure to watch 🙂 .
The cookies that I’m reproducing here today, the Cornmeal Cookies, Italian style, are my effort to try and recreate a popular gluten-free, delicious cookies called Munaretti (#nosponsor), delightfully crunchy, with a lovely lemon hint, a sugar top, and the unmistakable brittle texture.
I found few Italian recipes that wanted to recreate the same cookies. In some, the cornmeal is mixed with all-purpose flour (or 00 flour, to be precise, as in most Italian baking), in others, the way I chose wanting to keep it gluten-free, the cornmeal is mixed with brown rice flour. Some use butter, some olive oil, and although the original cookies seem to have a buttery taste and texture, I decided to go dairy free and use e.v.o. oil, instead. Another huge difference is made by the type of cornmeal you’re going to use. The finer the better. I had a very coarse one, and the texture of my Cornmeal Cookies, which I love, by the way, is a bit gritty and very similar to polenta. I like my Cornmeal Cookies very crunchy, like the original, so I tried to roll the dough very thin and to bake them longer.
They are easy to make and they have very few ingredients, the longest part is to let the dough rest in the fridge before rolling it out and cutting. You can have fun and experiment with different shapes, I had fun using the “homemade” stamp, kind present from my dear cousins.
If you feel adventurous and want to bake some gluten free cookies Italian style, hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy your Cornmeal Cookies with your loved ones.
Song of the day: Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam.
Recipe adapted from Dolci Senza Burro
- 200 g fine cornmeal
- 200 g brown rice flour
- 150 g light brown sugar
- 60 g e.v.o. oil
- 2 eggs, organic free-range
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 organic lemon, the zest, grated
- turbinado sugar, for the top
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the dry ingredients: sugar, both flours, baking powder, pinch of salt and mix.
- Add the eggs, the oil and the grated lemon zest. Blend the dough for a few seconds until all the ingredients have been mixed together in a smooth dough.
- Remove the dough and form a ball. Wrap it in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
- Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper with a rolling pin.
- Cut out your cookies with your favorite cookie cutter.
- With the help of a spatula, place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet, re-shaping and re-rolling the dough until finished.
- Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top.
- Bake the cookies in the preheated oven at 350° F (180° C) for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown at the edges.
- Let cool on a wire rack.
The prep time includes the resting time. The thinner the cookies, the crunchier they are. These cookies keep for up to a week in an airtight container.
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