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Fine cornmeal streamlines a basic, delicately crunchy Italian treat
Milk Street Bowtie Venetian Cornmeal and Currant Cookies (Zaletti)

Venetian Cornmeal and Currant Cookies (Zaletti)

30 minutes 10 minutes active

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Venetian Cornmeal and Currant Cookies (Zaletti)

Free

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.

40

cookies

Tip

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
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter, softened
107 grams (½ cup) white sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
½ cup (73 grams) fine yellow cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
195 grams (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
Ingredients
  • 75

    g (½ cup) dried currants

  • 3

    tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Cointreau

  • 12

    tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter, softened

  • 107

    grams (½ cup) white sugar

  • 1

    tablespoon grated orange zest

  • ½

    cup (73 grams) fine yellow cornmeal

  • ¼

    teaspoon table salt

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 1
  • 195

    grams (1½ cups) all-purpose flour

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Reviews
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!

Best,
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?


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Venetian Cornmeal and Currant Cookies (Zaletti)

Get Ready to Cook

40

cookies

30 minutes

10 minutes active

Tip

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

Ingredients
  • 75

    g (½ cup) dried currants

  • 3

    tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Cointreau

  • 12

    tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter, softened

  • 107

    grams (½ cup) white sugar

  • 1

    tablespoon grated orange zest

  • ½

    cup (73 grams) fine yellow cornmeal

  • ¼

    teaspoon table salt

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 1
  • 195

    grams (1½ cups) all-purpose flour

Step 1 of 3

Simmer the currants and orange liqueur

75
g (½ cup) dried currants
3
tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Cointreau

Heat the oven to 350°F with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with kitchen parchment. In a small saucepan over medium, bring the currants and orange liqueur to a simmer. Cover, remove from the heat and set aside.

Step 2 of 3

Make the dough

12
tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter, softened
107
grams (½ cup) white sugar
1
tablespoon grated orange zest
½
cup (73 grams) fine yellow cornmeal
¼
teaspoon table salt
1
large egg yolk
1
teaspoon vanilla extract
195
grams (1½ cups) all-purpose flour

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Beat in the zest for about 30 seconds.


Mix in the cornmeal, salt, egg yolk and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and mix on low until incorporated, another 30 seconds, then mix in the currants and their liquid.

Step 3 of 3

Bake the cookies

Form the dough into 1-tablespoon balls (each about 1 inch in diameter) and space evenly on the prepared baking sheets. Using your hand, flatten each to a 2-inch round about ¼ inch thick.


Bake until golden brown at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes, switching and rotating the sheets halfway through. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

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Done!

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