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Coffee Break Biscuits

>> Thursday, June 07, 2007

Eversince I made the wonderful polenta dough for empanadas, I have started to appreciate polenta a lot more. Before that, I only had it as a side dish which seemed rather bland. With the success, I was pleased to discover the lovely texture polenta has in baked goods – something strangely gritty, ‘sandy’ and satisfying. Having discovered that new dimension, I have started to look for more polenta recipes to try out.

In my search, one thing kinda confused me are the two terms – ground cornmeal and polenta. Are they the same thing? After ‘consulting’ with the gorgeous and knowledgeable Haalo, I finally have the answer. They are basically the same thing and can be used interchangeable. The small difference is in the grind – cornmeal normally has smaller grind. Having said that, I think the Greek groceries in my area carry all three grades of polenta (coarse, medium and fine), which is a good thing since different recipes do call for different grades.

Today I have used polenta again in one sweet biscuit recipe, which appears in this wonderfully sweet cookbook. The biscuits capture perfectly the gritty and crisp texture of polenta and their sweetness is just enough to lighten up the day. These are the types that pair beautifully with coffee or tea. I just love to dip them in my cuppa during the coffee break at uni, hence the name ‘coffee break biscuit’!

The recipe for the biscuits is easy. I have added orange zest and cardamom to lift up the aroma, but simple vanilla will work well, too. One key thing to remember is to chill the dough well since it is rather sticky. I have also modified the method of preparation a little to make dough handling easier.

I would like to submit this post to Weekend Cookbook Challenge #17. The theme for this month is polenta and it is hosted by Ani from FoodieChickie.

Orange & Cardamom Polenta Biscuits

Adapted from this book


115g unsalted butter, melted

200g plain flour

300 fine polenta (not the instant type)

115g castor sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

100ml milk

1 tsp ground cardamom

Zest of two large orange


Combine flour, polenta, and sugar in a large bowl. Pour in egg, milk, melted butter, cardamom & orange zest and mix well. Knead the dough to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease several baking tray.

On a lightly oiled surface, roll out the dough to 2cm thick. Lightly grease your hands, the rolling pins and dough cutter to prevent sticking to the dough. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the desired biscuit shape. Place onto the prepared tray.

Bake for 15 mins or until crisp and yellow. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight jar.


Cheryl 12:43 AM  

They are just lovely and have such a beautiful color. I would love them with my coffee right now.

Asha 1:19 AM  

Aw..!! Broken heart cookie!!;D
Looks great Anh.I haven't made anything yet for this,hope I can make it before the deadline!:))

Freya and Paul 4:07 AM  

These look so lovely, even the broken heart! Polenta adds a delicious crunch to sweet things!

Mishmash ! 5:21 AM  

Why did you break that heart?? :))
But I loved the photographic approach to a broken heart cookie :)


myriam 6:00 AM  

i hope it's only this polenta cookie's heart that's broken... great idea. did you ever make a polenta cake? it's delicious with some fresh butter or a berry compote - not too sweet so you could even serve it as a sweet bread.

Sharmi 6:40 AM  

hmm such good looking biscuits. would love to try one of them. hey you can use this recipe for my AFAM event hosted by me. it would be great. just a suggestion.

Helen 10:29 AM  

Last year i made so many polenta recipes and completely fell in love with it, from cakes to cookies. Great recipes and pictures!

Eva 11:04 AM  

Love the picture with the broken heart, so romantic...

Zurynee 12:01 PM  

Thank you for sharing. My sister did mentioned to me that she had polenta biscuits when she was in Italy and they were very delicious. Will try this one soon :-)


Lydia 8:38 PM  

Lovely little polenta hearts! Here in New England, cornmeal is often marketed as polenta, but it is the same thing -- one of those cases, like risotto, where the ingredient has become named after the dish that's made from it.

Truffle 9:18 PM  

Absolutely beautiful! I much prefer polenta in baked goods or sweet uses so it's so wonderful to see a post like this!

Angie 10:50 PM  

These are such sweet sweethearts :p

Anh 11:00 PM  

Cheryl, thanks. I have finished them all. Gotta prepare for another batch :D

Asha, *wink*. Can't wait to see your creation.

Freya & Paul, I totally agree. Polenta is so so good in sweet things!

Mishmash, I was bored and wanted to play something 'dramatic' for the photoshot. The broken heart biscuit went straight to my tummy after two 'clicks' :P

Myriam, I was thrilled with the idea of a polenta cake! Oh, you mention butter as well right? Gotta try soon since everything tastes really good with butter.

Sharmi, thanks sweetie. I've thing planned for that lovely event of yours. ;)

Helene, thank you. I have printed out some recipes on your blog to try out.

Eva, thanks dear.

Zu, hope you like these.

Lydia, thanks for the info. You are always very knowledgable.

Truffle, thanks dear.

Angie, a sweet hug for you pal! :)

SteamyKitchen 11:15 PM  

Beautiful biscuits! I've never made my own biscuits before - I think you've just seduced me.

Patricia Scarpin 7:40 AM  

That first photo is just stunning, Anh - not that the others aren't, they are! It's just that I love the little heart. Poor thing is broken! :)

These cookies are just perfect - you won my heart with them, sweetie! I love polenta, orange and cardamom!
I'll be trying these soon.

Amy 6:04 PM  

Those are just too cute! But the broken heart cookie is so sad! :( I'm going to bookmark this recipe. Is polenta the same thing as cornmeal?

Anh 9:23 PM  

Jaden, I'm sure your bakes will turn out perfect.

Pat, thanks sweetie. I know you love polenta ;). I have saved your polenta cake recipe to try later. *hug*

Amy, I think polenta is fine cornmeal. You can use fine cornmeal for this recipe.

Nora B. 10:41 PM  

Anh, I saw the same biscuit in Jamie Oliver's book but forgot all about till now. I am curious to try this cookie. p/s: the broken heart biscuit photo is soooo cute!

Susan 2:38 AM  

OK, these photos have DMBLGIT winner written all over them!:)

lynn,  1:09 PM  

Your biscuits look delicious and the photography is beautiful. I love the broken heart.

MeltingWok 3:29 PM  

Anh, surely this will melt in my mouth :) You just broke my heart ..:)

Barbara 2:39 PM  

Brilliant photo, I love those colours together. I'm thinking these would work with some fine semolina I bought recently. Polenta is such a winter food isn't it?

Rasa Malaysia 4:36 PM  

Oooh, I love the shape of these biscuits. :)

Laura 7:03 PM  

I always cut my biscuits into heart shape, but my daughter probably has something to do with that. I love polenta in baking and this flavour combination sounds wonderful will have to give it a try!

Viji 8:51 AM  

Heyy,this looks so good.I loved the broken heart picture of the biscuit.

claire,  8:00 AM  

Hey, I've seriously been into polenta too this summer and love the colour it gives a cake. Funny enough, I added orange and cardamom to a polenta biscuit too a while back. Interested in using a melted butter method as mine weren't all that crisp -wondering about the rolling out though -is it really to a depth of 2cm not mm? Thanks for the inspiration though!
Oh, and the broken heart? I had a packet of love heart sweets and just one was broken in half. It was the one that said "I love you". :( its pic is now my phone wallpaper. So poignant its tragic...but it makes one hell of a picture.

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