Rich, buttery and decidedly crunchy, these "S" shaped cookies have a high ratio of cornmeal to flour. To achieve that fantastic bite the cookies have, you are looking for the more jagged and coarse yellow cornmeal for this recipe, not the fine sandy cornmeal you might normally use in baking. To get a full lemon flavor, without adding excess moisture to the cookie dough, we added a full tablespoon of fragrant lemon zest, utilizing the same technique we used in that Lemon Poppy-Seed Tea Cake by rubbing the zest into the granulated sugar.
When the flour and cornmeal are added to the dough, it will be quite stiff with a bit of the flour mixture hiding in the bottom of the bowl. Go ahead and remove the bowl from your mixer and just use your hands to be sure that extra gets completely mixed in. Since I had some sturdy, yet disposable, large pastry bags, I went ahead and filled it with all of the cookie mixture. While it held the sturdy dough just fine, I found it was a little difficult to put enough pressure on it to allow the dough to come out nicely. Once I took about half of it out, it was so much easier - so I would suggest working in a couple batches. You may want to cover the other half to prevent any drying out of the dough.
You don't have to pipe the dough into "S" shapes, you could do "O" or whatever you prefer - I quite liked the curves that this letter provided though. Because the dough is heavy, you may have problems with the parchment lifting up when you are pipping - to solve this, just squirt a little dot of the dough onto the baking sheet to give the parchment something to grab a hold of. With the high butter content, and not a lot of dry ingredients to help absorb the moisture, you will want to freeze the unbaked cookies for about half an hour to control the spreading as they sit in the hot oven. They will be baked enough when the edges just begin to turn golden - you want the centers to be still a little soft in the center as they will firm up as they cool. Because they are still soft, you don't want to try and move the cookies once they are taken out, but you don't want to leave them on the warm baking sheet either. This is where the parchment comes in handy! Gently pull the entire sheet off the pan and place it on a wire rack to continue the cooling process.
Italian Polenta Cookies