Biscotti di Meliga (Italian Lemon Cornmeal Spritz Cookies) are distinctively chewy little cookies that are bright with citrus and sweet with vanilla. They were a big hit with everyone who tried them! Affiliate links have used to link to items I am discussing.
I know my posting has been erratic lately. I’ve been under some stress this winter, stuff I am not ready to discuss (don’t worry, no one is sick or dying, it is hopefully good) and it seems to be impacting the regularity of my writing. But don’t give up on me! This blog means as much to me as ever, and I still have some great goodies coming your way!
Sammy, out of all of us, remains the most affected by our time in Italy. She is currently taking Italian for her after school language (a once a week “dip” into a language) and she currently loves all things Italian. She convinced her Girl Scout troop to choose Italy for World Thinking Day, a day when a whole bunch of troops come together and share the cultures of difference countries (you might remember the Aruban tutu from last year), and I was volunteered to make some treats to share (lots of parents brought goodies but what made me laugh is that it was Sammy’s BFF who volunteered me).
My first obstacle was to find a treat without nuts. I did not want to bake something that could cause a problem for children with allergies, and so many of Italy’s baked goods involve nuts. So that right there narrowed my choices down by quite a bit. It also needed to be able to be served in small bites. There are so many treats at these events that whatever you serve needs to be small.
These Lemon Cornmeal Spritz Cookies were perfect. Because they are spritz, they are tiny but plentiful. And the cornmeal is the focus, so there are no ground nuts to distract from its distinctive chewy texture. According to Francine Segan, author of Dolci: Italy’s Sweets, these cookies are from northern Italy. I did not encounter any cornmeal-based baked goods while we were there in the south, although it is possible we missed them. My main changes to the cookies were to add salt (I always add salt to European baked goods), add more lemon zest, and add the Fiori di Sicilia, which you guys know I love.
- 1 cup (140 g) fine ground cornmeal
- 3/4 cup (95 g) AP flour
- 1/4 t fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
- zest of 2 lemons
- 10 T cold unsalted butter, diced
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 t vanilla
- 1/4 t fiori di sicilia
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Combine the cornmeal, salt, flour and sugar in a food processor until evenly mixed. Pulse in the lemon zest. Add the butter and pulse until it looks like coarse sand.
Pulse in the 2 egg yolks and the extracts until evenly mixed in and the dough starts to come together around the processor blade.
Remove the dough onto a clean workspace. Knead for 1-2 minutes, until the dough comes together--it will be dense and sticky.
Use a cookie press to press the dough onto into shaped cookies 1-2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
Bake for around 7 minutes--the cookies are done when they begin to brown at the edges. Let them cool completely on the cookie sheets.