Meri Raffetto

Lemon polenta snacks

I love really great food but my favorites aren’t trendy foodie finds in the hippest restaurant. Instead it’s the simple things like a turkey sandwich with a big hunk of cheddar cheese the day after Thanksgiving, a runny poached egg, anything with lemon and lime flavor and polenta…I just love polenta. Must be my Southern Italian genes.

This cookie recipe developed by Wendy Jo Peterson, my co-author for the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies®, combines that wonderful fresh lemon flavor with the chewy texture of polenta with a little pinch of floral cardamom. Yum! Right up my alley!

I also appreciate the lightly sweetened flavor of these cookies. There’s a relatively low amount of added sugar, about 3/4 teaspoon per cookie. If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of teeth rattling sweetness in my sweets. Let’s just say the thought of a skittle makes me cringe.

Instead these cookies offer a light refreshing flavor you could serve at a tea party. Not sure if anyone does that sort of thing but if you did, they’d be perfect! If you are a fan of lemon bars or lemon pie, these cookies are for you- for real.


PREP TIME: 45 mins

COOK TIME: 14 mins

TOTAL TIME: 59 mins

Author: Wendy Jo Peterson, The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies, Wiley 2012

Recipe type: Dessert

Serves: 36 cookies


  • ½ cup room-temperature butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon half and half
  • ½ cup powdered sugar


  1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, brown sugar, honey, and lemon zest until fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and lemon juice (minus 1 tablespoon) and mix until incorporated.
  2. In a food processor, grind the pistachios to a flour consistency. In a small bowl, combine the ground nuts, flour, cornmeal, cardamom, and salt.
  3. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into balls 1 tablespoon at a time, place the balls 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet, and flatten gently. Repeat with remaining dough.
  5. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until the edges brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Whisk together the remaining lemon juice, the half and half, and the powdered sugar in a bowl. Drizzle the cooled cookies with the glaze and cool until the glaze hardens. Serve.


  • Meri Raffetto

    Meri Raffetto was the original founder of Real Living Nutrition. A triplet mom and author of the Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies and coauthor of the Glycemic Index Cookbook for Dummies, and Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies.