Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mad About Minis: Polenta Cookies for Two

When we went to Pizza Antica, the accompaniment to the chocolate budino was a polenta cookie. It was the first time that I enjoyed a polenta cookie, so I was really curious. It was delicious and indeed tasted like polenta but in a cookie. Ideas started to come… which can be a good (or bad) thing. Nonetheless, that experience inspired a second dessert or midnight snack.

I researched this recipe by doing my usual Maddy-thing. What is a Polenta Cookie? Is it really made of polenta? Can I Google a recipe? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.... (oh wait, wrong question). Can I make a small batch and see if the husband enjoys it? 

I found an Italian Polenta cookie recipe from Martha Stewart, and thought one cannot go wrong with Martha.  I used the ingredients as a base, but combined some of my single serve recipe proportions (like my single-serve chocolate chip cookie) for reference.

My original recipe was admittedly for a single cookie. However, after making it the first time, I decided to make cookies for two. Reserving it for a “photo shoot”, the cookie mysteriously disappeared and I found my husband was quite happy. I think I can put two-and-two together. Nevertheless, that answers the question of whether my husband would enjoy it.

Here’s what I ended up with. Let me know what you think... and we can tweak it together.

Mad Gourmet’s Polenta Cookies for Two
Based on Martha Stewart’s Italian Polenta Cookies

  • 8 tsp of AP Flour
  • 4 tsp cornmeal (I used medium grind for texture)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tsp butter
  • 4 tsp of white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of lemon zest/juice
  • 3 tsp of egg whites
  • Drop or two of vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Combine wet ingredients to dry. Mix until combined. (Sometimes, I even obsess and combine them before adding – depending on my mood to clean one more dish)
  4. Split into two cookies and put on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  6. Cool for at least 5 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!


Obviously, my husband enjoyed this cookie and I loved it too. It’s a great break from our usual chocolate chip or sugar cookies. The hint of lemon is perfect with a cup of tea or a chocolate budino.

Most importantly, it was close to what I had in Pizza Antica.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mad About Minis: Mini Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding with Shortbread cookies
This dish was inspired by the Sea Salt Chocolate Budino from Pizza Antica. I tried this dessert last year, and it was excellent. I thought this was something I can easily make since I have been making a lot of mini desserts then. Well, maybe easy.

Unfortunately, I did not know what a budino was, this was my first budino. After a lot of research, I found that it was an Italian Chocolate Pudding. I found a lot of budino recipes: it is usually very rich using cream and whole milk. I wanted to scale it down and also making it a bit more healthy. However, Actually, even the pudding recipes were a bit difficult to scale down too. So, I have a dilemma.

Fortunately, after a long search, I found a home-alone chocolate pudding recipe hidden in the internet. It is in the community section of Cooking Light magazine. There are a bunch of recipes in there, but I choose the one from Cooking Light, primarily because I wanted to save my chocolate chips for cookies, and I wanted to use the Dutch Process Cocoa.

I also wanted to make a smaller version since 3/4 cup of milk seems to be a lot! Usually I just want something small and sweet to end the evening. So naturally, I halved the recipe.

Here’s what I have so far… I love the deep chocolate flavor on this dish. Let me know what you think.

Mad Gourmet’s Single-serve Chocolate Pudding
Based on Cooking Light’s Home Alone Chocolate Pudding

  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 3 tsp Dutch Process Cocoa
  • 1.5 tsp corn starch
  • 6 Tbsp low fat milk
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Microwave milk for 30 seconds.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add warm milk and vanilla mixture.
  4. Microwave at high for 30 seconds and stir well.
  5. Microwave until thick, at most for another 30 seconds.
  6. Add vanilla extract and stir.
  7. Refrigerate until cold (at least about an hour)


I love this recipe. To make it more decadent, I sometimes put it on top of crushed oreo cookies to make the double-dose chocolate effect.

I also have been known to double the recipe to share… or not. I'd just save the other portion for later..

I have also tried making this pudding using coconut milk. That gave it a tropical feel, especially if you add bananas or more coconut.

But then that would not be Italian…