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Venetian Cornmeal and Currant Cookies (Zaletti)

40 cookies

30 minutes 10 minutes active

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Zaletti are buttery, crisp Italian cornmeal cookies studded with raisins or currants. The dried fruit usually is first plumped in grappa, a fiery Italian brandy, but we opted instead to use orange liqueur for its more nuanced flavor. We then upped the citrus notes with grated orange zest. The cooled cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to one week.




Don’t use coarsely ground cornmeal or polenta. Their rough texture will result in crumbly, rather than crisp, cookies.

30 minutes

10 minutes active


  • 75

    g (½ cup) dried currants

  • 3

    tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Cointreau


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Pat A.
November 14, 2023
I want to make this for a xmas cookie exchange. I am wondering about the fine cornmeal. Is this corn flour?
Michaelyn M.
November 16, 2022
Easy and delicious
I used half lemon zest and half orange zest. Used 1 TB Triple Sec and 2 TB water ( to limit alcohol). I will try substituting orange juice next time for the triple sec next time. Loved these
Christine Y.

This is a beautiful cookie. Tender and flavorful, they practically melt in your mouth. I substituted a commercial gluten free flour mix (Cup4Cup) so that relatives with wheat sensitivities could enjoy these cookies. I prefer to weigh my flour, particularly when using gluten free. I also let the dough rest a bit before spooning out and baking. As with rice flours, the dough goes from sticky to light and fluffy within 30 minutes.

Nancy H.

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Crystal F.

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Emily B.

I made these with Meyer lemon instead of orange. Very good!

Anita S.

These cookies held much promise, but failed. The cornmeal didn't bake. Resultant cookie held raw cornmeal. Was the cornmeal too coursely ground?

Anita S.

Part II: I used medium grind. That was my mistake. You don't need to post this my previous comment.

Diana L.

I made this without currants, LIQUEUR, and orange because my kid wont eat it. They are very delicious. I am planning to make them with all the ingredients soon.

Laura H.

Would orange extract be a suitable substitute for the Cointreau; if so, how much should I use?

Lynn C.

Hi Laura -

Orange extracts can be extremely potent and brands vary a lot in their potency so we wouldn't be comfortable recommending it as a substitute. However, we've made this with an equal amount of orange juice and the recipe worked great!

The Milk Street Team

Lynne T.

Thank you for this wonderful recipe. These little gems are a real treat and just a super combination of flavors. I followed the recipe with weight measurements. Substituted all purpose with Bob’s 1:1 gluten free flour blend. Found fine grind cornmeal by Arrowhead Mills. Cointreau was such a genius addition. My bake time was 12-13 min. They turned out perfectly. Thank you

James V.

I have instant polenta. Any thoughts on whether that might work well?