Go Back
+ servings
Polenta Cookies with Thyme and Candied Violets
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Dough chilling time
45 mins

These buttery polenta cookies with a lemony cookie icing, fresh thyme leaves, and candied violets capture the flavors of early spring beautifully. Recipe adapted from Food52 contributor Emiko. If you’d like to make candied violets, I recommend Alice Medrich’s recipe here.

Cookies can also be made ahead and then iced and decorated with fresh edible flowers just before serving.

This cookie dough is very buttery and needs to be chilled after each step. Be sure to build in time to chill the cookies thoroughly before baking or they will spread in the oven.

Recipe Type: Dessert
Keyword: polenta cookies
Makes: 30 cookies
Author: Elizabeth Stark, adapted from Food52
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup medium-grind cornmeal, or fine grind for a less textured cookie
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced thyme leaves, or use lemon thyme or rosemary
  • Candied or edible flowers such as violets or redbuds
  1. Set the butter out to come to room temperature.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk to combine flour, cornmeal, and sea salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with hand held beaters, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the yolks one at a time, mixing until each is well combined. Add zest. With mixer on low, add the flour mixture and mix just until the dough starts to come together. Use a silicone spatula to fold any floury bits into the butter.
  4. Gather dough into a rough ball and press out on a sheet of plastic into a rough 6 x 10-inch rectangle. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes or as long as 3 days.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Move baking rack to the center of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  6. Set dough on a lightly floured surface. Give it a few minutes to soften slightly, and then roll it into a larger rectangle about ½-inch thick. Use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out your cookies. Arrange 12 - 15 on prepared baking sheet.
  7. Set baking sheet in the fridge to chill for 20 - 25 minutes.
  8. Gather up leftover dough, flatten into a rectangle, wrap in plastic, and set in the freezer for 10 minutes to re-chill. Then roll dough out, cut, and set cookies on the other baking sheet.
  9. When cutout cookies have chilled, slide into the oven and bake 10 minutes, rotate pan, and bake 7 - 10 minutes more, or just until the bottom edge of the cookies turns golden.
  10. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process for the second batch of cookies.
  11. Once cookies are completely cool, make the icing by whisking to combine the powdered sugar, zest, and lemon juice. Dip each cookie in the icing, set on a wire rack, and decorate with thyme leaves and (if using) edible flowers. Allow icing to dry before serving or storing.
  12. Cookies will keep well in a sealed container at room temperature for 3 days.