Recipe: Zaletti (Italian Christmas Cornmeal Cookies)

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"I am a great home cook but notoriously bad at baking cookies!" writes Marci Woodruff of Squirrel Hill. "These are two recipes that are a hit at my house and so easy to make. I'm a professional theater director and used to feeding hordes of hungry actors at my house, and this is a top request."

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar (to coat cookies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In food processor or mixer, cream butter, sugar and fruit zests.

Beat in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, meal and salt. Gradually add the dry mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and process until a cohesive ball forms. You may add a bit of flour if the dough is too sticky.

Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake 10 to 13 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet.

Place sugar in shallow bowl or dish and gently toss warm cookies in sugar to coat. Cool on rack.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

-- Marci Woodruff, Squirrel Hill

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