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Lemon Polenta Cookies

I am a sucker for texture!  Creme Brulee with a crunchy top, creamy ice cream with sandy cookies or crumbly cake mixed in, rice pudding with a bite to the rice… I don’t know why, but the texture of foods speak to me.  These cookies have texture, there’s a certain crunch and sandiness the polenta adds to the cookie that makes them irresistible!  The fragrance of the fresh lemon zest only adds to the appeal.

Just a warning-you need some “special” equipment for these cookies and a lot of muscle!  The cookies need to be piped out in an “s” shape, so you need a pastry bag fitted with a 7/16″ star tip.  If you can fit the tip at the corner of a plastic zip top bag, then you don’t need the pastry bag.  They do make plastic, washable and reusable pastry bags and they’re pretty cheap.  Ateco and Wilson make great tips and they ‘re very cheap.  As for the muscle, the dough isn’t the easiest to squeeze out, I’ve been sore a few tines after making double batches of these delectable morsels!  I’ve even considered teaching my husband how to pipe out the dough!

These are my daughter’s Christmas favorite and we never leave them out.  If you decide to “bite the bullet” and try these-you won’t be disappointed!

Lemon Polenta Cookies (about 2 1/2 dozen cookies)

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour                                            2/3 cup sugar

1 cup polenta or coarse corn meal                                1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon salt                                                              1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp               1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together flour, polenta and salt in bowl.

Put butter, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add yolk and egg, one at a time, beating after each addition to combine.  Mix in vanilla.  Gradually add in flour mixture, beat until just combined.  Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 7/16″ star tip.

Pipe “s” shapes about 3″ long and 1″ wide, spacing 1 1/2″ apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment (or silpat). Chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.  Bake cookies until edges are golden, 15-18 minutes, rotating halfway through.  Transfer cookies, parchment and all to wire racks, cool 10 minutes.  Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.  Can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week.

 

Tips

1. I can’t say enough about using the right tools for the right job.  I believe that if you have the right equipment, half the battle is one.  A microplane is the best tool for grating zest for cookies and a plastic pastry bag is the right tool for piping!  (I could go on and on about a proper stand mixer-but I won’t.  At least not now!).

2. DO NOT LET THE DOUGH STAND!  It becomes stiffer and harder to work with.  I think the polenta starts to really absorb the liquid and stiffens the dough, it also loses some crunch.

3. You really need to work at the piping, there’s no getting around it.  It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.

4. I don’t transfer the cookies,  parchment and all to the wire racks.  I let them cool a little on the silpat and then transfer just the cookies to the racks.  The cookies are none the worse for wear.

5. Once cool, I freeze the cookies.  The lose nothing in flavor or texture (and you know how I feel about texture!) and they last forever! Enjoy!

 

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