We love Italian cookies because they're simple to make, not too sweet, and always super interesting. These Venetian cookies known as Zaleti with currants, cornmeal, and almond liqueur are just that!
reserve 1 egg white for brushing cookies
cut into small squares
for garnishing cookies
Combine currants and almond liqueur in a small bowl then set aside to let soak until fruit is plump, about 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and egg yolk, lemon zest, and vanilla. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form. Add plumped currants and wet ingredients, gently stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a flat square, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate 45 minutes or up to overnight.
Zaleti dough can be made to this point up to 1 month ahead. Wrap in plastic then put in a resealable plastic bag and freeze until ready to use.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to an 8-inch square, about 1/2 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut dough horizontally into 1-inch strips. Working with one strip at a time, cut crosswise on the bias into 5 equal diamonds (you should make 6 cuts). Reroll scraps once and form additional cookies, if desired. Transfer cookies to two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 1 inch apart. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Lightly beat reserved egg white. Brush tops of cookies with egg white and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until lightly golden around edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet, at least 5 minutes.
Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.
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