Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Italian Polenta Cookies

I have just started to make these cookies.  So far I have added chopped apricots and toasted almonds to one batch with no lemon zest.  The plain ones are very nice.  They do take long to bake.  It seems more like 20 minutes but they can burn so watch carefully.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 

1 cup Italian polenta or coarse yellow cornmeal 

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 

2/3 cup sugar 

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest oe orange zest 

1 large egg plus

1 large egg yolk 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together flour, polenta, and salt in a bowl.

Mix butter, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer.  I used a hand mixer.

Add egg and egg yolk, one at a time, beating after each addition to combine.

Mix in vanilla or   almond extract   or    rum extract

Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined.

Dump 1/2 of the dough onto a large piece of parchment paper.
Fold paper over and press against the paper and push the dough into a cookie roll with a straight ruler or some other straight edge.
Wrap up and place in the freezer.

Do same with the second half of dough.

Chill in freezer until dough is firm about 30 minutes.

Remove from freezer.  Cut into round cookies just like any other cookie roll.
Bake on parchment paper.  You can score the cookies much like a peanut butter cookie too.

Bake cookies until edges are golden, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

Transfer cookies on parchment to wire racks; let cool about 10 minutes.

Remove cookies from parchment, and transfer to racks to cool completely.

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


Traditional way:   Did not try this yet.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 7/16-inch star tip (such as Ateco #825).
Pipe S shapes about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, spacing 1 ½ inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


This is a nice dark rich biscotti.  I used special dark cocoa and Starbucks VIA coffee package for the flavor.  Very nice. 


4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
7- 8 Tablespoons butter at room temp.

1½  cups sugar
1/2  cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 T grated orange zest (optional)
1 pkg  Starbucks VIA Ready brew coffee (optional)

1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or less
1 1/4 cup chopped walnuts  or less
1 cup dried cranberries, soaked in water and patted dry
1 cup dried apricots, chopped, soaked in water and patted dry

Chocolate flavoring:

2 (2 bricks) cubes of semi sweet chocolate cooking bars, 1 T butter (from recipe), melted in microwave on defrost for about 1 minute. 

2 ½ T to 3 1/2 T of the Hersey’s Special dark chocolate cocoa added to the dry.

1 pkg Starbucks VIA Ready brew Italian roast sprinkled into the warm 
cubes chocolate and then added to wet mixture. 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, 
orange zest or peel, cocoa 
and salt. Stir well.

Combine sugar and butter.  Beat. 
Add  eggs and beat well. 
Add vanilla extract and mix. 

Add melted cubes of chocolate.

Mix into flour mixture. 

Add chocolate chips and walnuts, cranberries, apricots. Stir well. Usually stiff so by wooden spoon or your hands.

To shape the dough into a log, lightly sprinkle flour on the work surface, on top of the dough, and on your hands.  Or refrigerate for 30 minutes. Its easy to handle with no additional flour. Butter helps by hardening some.

Use parchment paper for the baking.

Bake logs 28 minutes or until dough pops back up when lightly pressed with a finger.

Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Reduce oven to 300 or less degrees. Using a long serrated knife, cut logs.

Second Baking:  Bake another 15 minutes.

NOTE:  Do not crowd the biscotti slices on the baking sheet for their second baking as they need the hot air to circulate to enable them to crisp up evenly.

Remove from oven and cool completely on wire racks.  Or cold tile counter

Yields about 6 dozen biscotti.