7.08.2017

Yellow Diamonds

In the days when I still liked Bon Appétit, I found this recipe.

The magazine was just starting to change its format, accepting a lot of advertising designed to look like articles, with an unappealing layout. I stopped going through page by page. I went right to the index of recipes to see what I might want to make.

The name of this recipe popped off the page immediately. I distinctly heard, "Check me out." And I always listen to the voices, don't you?

I am glad I listened. While these aren't the most mainstream kind of cookie, they are just the kind we like. They aren't overly sweet, and the texture - with that extra bit of crunch from the cornmeal - is really good. If you drink coffee or tea, these are the perfect accompaniment. For cocoa, as well, I can assure you.

The bottom floor of the Ca' d'Oro.
These are a Venetian specialty, according to Bon Appétit, and their name in local dialect means "little yellow ones." The diamond shapes reminded me of this wall in the Ca' d'Oro in Venice.

I thought maybe I'd share some shots from our trip to Venice in 2013.
I used a very fine cornmeal given me by my friend Todd - an exchange for some vinegar I get from Switzerland. 

Our last morning in Venice - from the bridge near the train station.
It doesn't matter if you use white or yellow cornmeal, as the egg yolk on top is what makes them really yellow. The important thing to do is use good cornmeal.

Somewhere, lost in the tangle of Venetian streets and canals.
These little yellow diamonds are true gems!

~ David

Zalettini

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fine cornmeal
pinch salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks, divided
2 tablespoons water
finely grated zest of 3 untreated lemons


Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour 2 heavy large baking sheets. Sift flour, cornmeal and salt into large bowl. Beat butter and sugar in another large bowl until creamy. Beat in 3 yolks, 1 at a time, until well blended. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions. Mix in water and grated lemon zest and beat until smooth dough forms.

Turn dough out onto generously floured surface and knead until smooth, about 8 turns. Roll out dough to 6x8-inch rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cut rectangle into 1-inch diamond shapes. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

Beat remaining yolk in small bowl. Brush cookies with yolk. Bake until cookies are light golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to racks; cool.

Makes about 4 dozen.

28 comments:

  1. These look like perfect coffee-time snacks, David. Gorgeous, golden colour and, um, all that butter! This is my kind cookie!

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    1. Well, considering the number of cookies this makes, each has a paltry amount of butter, John - just enough to hold them together! A teaspoon per cookie - a mere trace...

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  2. Not too sweet with a crunch of cornmeal. I like it. GREG

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  3. I've seen these before, but have never made them. They look wonderful, David!

    I haven't seen a Bon Appetit magazine in years, but I feel the same about Saveur. They used to be a top class magazine, one I could trust, recommending products like Perugina cocoa. I don't know if they were sold or the editors were the culprit for the downward spiral, both online and in print. TERRIBLE, horrible things they were posting and printing made me run the opposite direction! So sad when quality is swapped for $$. :(

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    1. I think you would like them Christina.

      I have held onto Saveur and still enjoy it, although agree that there has been a change. I usually love the Saveur 100 issue - but have they stopped that? Food & Wine got really bad, too, and the paper quality is terrible. Listen to us whine! :)

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  4. Oh my David, those cookies look scrumptious. Could I dip them into my afternoon tea? That's my kind of cookie. I still get Bon Appetit and Saveur but I find very few things of interest in it.

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    1. These would be perfect for your afternoon tea, Gerlinde!

      The good news about all these bad magazines, is that we have each other as bloggers to see good ideas and photos! Some blogs, though, are so ad-heavy and have so many pop-ups that it drives me crazy and I immediately leave the page. Do you find that?

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    2. I don't like pop ups either but most bloggers that want to make a living with their blog have few choices. I am glad I don't have to do it.

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    3. Me, too, Gerlinde - I never planned to make any money off my blog. For me, it is just my passion and I like to keep it that way!

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  5. I like any version of these biscotti, called zeal in Veneto. One of the best versions, I feel, is in Hazan's Marcella Cucina_ they are soft, rich in butter and sultanas. My venetian friends told me though that they were born as a far poorer affair. I (which makes sense, because Veneto has been for a long time a very poor area of Italy). I have few versions on my italian blog (www.bbq.wordpress.com). Sometimes I use baking ammonia in the mix and this gives a very crisp, old fashioned finish.
    On the dumbing down of magazines: here too. we used to have a beautiful food magazine called Waitrose Illustrated: nice, long, well researched articles ecc... they then changed the format and it went down the hill: basically a lot of what they write has now the "foolproof/super easy/quick slant".
    ciao, stefano - italianhomecooking.co.uk

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    1. I love knowing their name in Veneto. I only knew them form the one article I had seen. I will check out Marcella's recipe, as well as yours on qbbq.wordpress.com site (readers: note - he was missing the first "q" in his website, should you go there, as well!) I have never used baking ammonia - and have never seen it for sale her, but perhaps because I wasn't looking.

      As I just mentioned to Gerlinde - I am glad I have you and others for my inspiration. If I want truly traditional recipes, I find bloggers, such as you, to be the best resource!

      Have a great week, Stefano - D

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  6. Yummy!! And I love your association to the wall in Ca' d'Oro.

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    1. The funny thing, Kirsten, is that I remembered the tile design in the Ca' d'Oro to be diamonds, yet they weren't. Still, there is a similar pattern!

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  7. Hi David, these sound like the perfect cookie, not too sweet and some crunch. I bet these would be good with a sip with wine too. Love the pic of the canals.

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    1. You know, Cheri - I never thought about them with wine. What a great idea!

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  8. Love the look of these David - I form mine into little logs and add grappa-soaked sultanas to them (I add grappa soaked sultanas to a LOT of desserts). I just love your diamond shapes

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    1. That sounds like a great habit, Paola! I need to look into more recipes fro these cookies. Had I found one with grappa soaked sultanas, I am sure I would have made that recipe first!

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  9. I need to do more with cornmeal. These certainly do make for a lovely presentation!

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    1. Thank you, Inger - but with beauties like these it would be hard not to have a beautiful presentation!

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  10. I sure do love coffee, and these would be the perfect accompaniment. Wish it could happen tomorrow morning! At first glace of your photos of these cookies -- the way your arranged them, they look like one beautiful tile.

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    1. I can really see that, Valentina - it reminds me of some of the Moroccan tiles in Fez! But then someone takes one to dunk in their coffee... and it's all over!

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  11. David, these little beauties have my name written all over them! (PS Do you have any idea how many times I have longed for the BA of yesteryear?)

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    1. I hear your pain, Jean - I really would love to know why magazines have gone this way. If it's to attract a younger audience, even the young people I know think it's ugly. Sadly for them, they didn't know what good design looked like!

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  12. Oh these are definitely my kind of cookie, its a good thing that we listen to those voices sometimes as they do occasionally have great intuition!!!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who listens to the voices, Emma!

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  13. Do you hear a little voice telling you to send a box to me? Darn! They look delicious and exactly the kind I like to go with tea and espresso!

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    1. I must not have been in range when your voice called me, Susan! :)

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