Cornmeal Cookies with Jam Hearts
This recipe is based on Carol Field’s recipe for the Venetian cookies called Zaletti, in her book The Italian Baker. Unlike Zaletti, these are a thumbprint cookie — except that they are actually “fingerprint” cookies, since it’s easier to make the heart shaped indentations with two fingers rather than one thumb. They are fun to make — by yourself or with children, whose small fingers are perfect!
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (you may also use vanilla extract, or Fiori di Sicilia flavoring)
- 1/2 cup (80 grams) Janie’s Mill Golden Yellow Cornmeal or heirloom Bloody Butcher Cornmeal
- 1 1/2 cups (200 grams) Janie’s Mill Frederick Cake Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 - 3 tablespoons cherry, raspberry, or strawberry jam
- Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer for a few minutes on medium speed, until creamy. Reduce the speed to low; add the sugar gradually, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Add the egg and almond extract; beat on low speed until well incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. On low speed, gradually add these dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating just long enough to create a fairly firm dough.
Use a 2 or 3-tablespoon scoop to make cookies, spacing them at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Flatten each portion to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
- Use two fingers to make the rounded top of the heart at the center of each portion of dough. Fill with a small amount of jam. (TIP: I found it works best to use your right index finger to make the left rounded top of the heart and then your left finger to make the right rounded top part of the heart. This way you can slightly press down on the outer part of each finger to make the straight sides of the heart that come to a point at the bottom. I also discovered that the jam I used needed to be slightly melted in order to fill in the heart shaped depression in each cookie.)
- Bake one sheet at a time for 15 to 25 minutes or until the edges turn golden.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing.
You may also make these cookies using the cornmeal and cake flour in a 50/50 ratio for a slightly sandy texture, but still melt-in-your mouth delicious. Because jam is so sweet, you may also use less sugar in the dough, if desired.
Posted on January 02 2020