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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

How to Make Zaeti | Italian Polenta Cookies

Polenta isn’t just for savory food! These cookies, traditionally made for Christmas in Veneto, have a dough made from sweetened corn polenta. They’re as unusual as they are delicious, and definitely worth making any time of year.

How to Make Zaeti | Italian Polenta Cookies

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Makes: About 30 cookies

Cook Time: 45 minutes

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 cup (150 g) raisins

  • Grappa or spiced rum (optional)

  • 2 ⅛ cups (500 ml) whole milk

  • 1 ¼ cups (250 g) sugar

  • 1 lemon zest, grated

  • A pinch of salt

  • 10 tablespoons (150 g) unsalted butter

  • 1 ½ cups (250 g) corn meal

  • 1 ¼ cups (150 g) all-purpose flour

  • 5 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) baking powder

Place the raisins in a bowl and fill with grappa or spiced rum to cover (you can substitute with water, if necessary). Let the raisins soak while you prepare the polenta.

Combine the milk, sugar, lemon zest and salt in a pot. Whisk together thoroughly. Add the butter and heat the pot over medium/low. While the butter melts, mix together the corn meal and all-purpose flour in a separate bowl.

When the butter has melted and the milk just starts to simmer around the edges, gradually add the corn meal mixture while whisking constantly. Switch to a wooden spoon when the polenta thickens. Keep stirring and cooking the polenta until it no longer clings to the bottom or sides of the pot. Let the polenta cool to room temperature.

Crack one egg into the cool polenta and stir it in until well-incorporated. Repeat with the remaining 4 eggs, stirring them in one at a time. Once all of the eggs are mixed in, add the baking powder. Drain the soaked raisins, squeeze the excess moisture out, and add these as well. Stir all together.

Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).

Scoop up heaping tablespoons of the polenta dough and arrange on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Give the cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) of space from the next—you will almost certainly need multiple baking sheets.

Bake each sheet of cookies one at a time on the middle rack for 15 to 18 minutes, until the bottoms of the cookie are deeply golden. Let the cookies cool before serving.

Buon appetito!

If you’re interested in checking out some other Italian Christmas cookies, take a look at our recipes for Mostaccioli and Torroncini Abruzzesi!

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