Polenta and Honey Cookies with Homemade Caramel

We have a few favorite places in Austin: Vintage Heart Coffee , Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Easy Tiger, and Enoteca Vespaio. When my little sister flew all the way from West Virginia to visit Ryan and me last week, we made a point to hit as many of our favorites as possible. Enoteca Vespaio is the place to grab dessert in Austin. Their pastry chefs are immensely talented, producing desserts that scream flavor, not sugar. While Noelle chose a sexy black and white brownie, I went for a seemingly simple cookie. But after my first bite, I was sold. Polenta and honey. Who would have thought? But the slight crunch of the polenta contrasted well with the complex yet slight sweetness of the honey. HOLY HEAVEN, I told Noelle, THESE ARE TOO GOOD. But because Enoteca Vespaio is located in South Austin (and I try to avoid driving and traffic as much as possible), I knew I had to recreate these cookies at home.

Recreating a baked good without a recipe always takes a few tries, but I finally found what I’d been hoping for. These polenta and honey cookies are ALMOST as good as what I got at Enoteca Vespaio (and that is actually saying quite a lot). They don’t contain any sugar so if you like your cookies sweet and gooey, I suggest you try something else. But if you want a cookie both complex and unique then write this down and pull out your mixing bowls. But be forewarned: these cookies  have a  slightly grainy crunch from the polenta.  Some people (like my husband) aren’t the biggest fans. But I think the crunch is a delightful change from the ordinary, and when coated with a thin layer of caramel, I can’t help but deem these as favorites. And speaking of caramel…I made a big jar this weekend, and I’ll be sharing the recipe, along with a chocolate cake, very soon. Until then, enjoy friends, family, and cookies!

Polenta and Honey Cookies

1/2 cup finely ground polenta (cornmeal)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the polenta, flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir until thoroughly combined.

3. In a small bowl, beat together the softened butter and honey until creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the egg and stir in almond or vanilla extract. Fold in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to chill for at least one hour.

4. Roll out chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/3 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to cool 5 minutes on pan before removing to a wire rack.

56 thoughts on “Polenta and Honey Cookies with Homemade Caramel

  1. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    I love getting inspiration from local restaurants around Austin! I went to Vespaio for dinner last week and thought it was a little overrated, but I haven’t been to its neighboring cafe for dessert. I’ve got to try it for myself! Thanks for sharing these lovely little cookies. Love the look of your homemade caramel!

    1. Monet Post author

      Hi lovely! Yes, Vespaio is expensive, and I’ve had great, good, and average meals there. But Enoteca is our favorite. Much more relaxed atmosophere, good food, and DELICIOUS desserts. Maybe we can meet there sometime soon?

  2. Tina@flourtrader

    I have seen a few cookie recipes with polenta, however I have never tried them. I do like experimenting with different flours and grains when it comes to cookies, so these look to be well worth a try. Also, the caramel is a nice touch-yum!

  3. Annie

    I think I would love these cookies. I’m not one for super sweet anything and the polenta/caramel combo intrigues me. Must make these!

  4. elisabeth@foodandthrift

    Hi Monet-just clicked over from foodbuzz, and thought I was on the wrong blog…wow! I love the LIGHT…the crisp and white background look of your new look!
    Love your precious heart shaped honey glazed polenta cookies…buzzed!

    You’ve been quite busy lately, and your Paris trip sounds awesome, amazing, and wonderful. A much needed getaway for you in one of the world’s most beautiful city.
    So glad to see you’re back, and I’m bookmarking these yummy cookies to make soon!

    1. Monet Post author

      Oh thank you Elisabeth! You are so sweet. I’m glad you had a chance to visit!

  5. Jeanne

    These sound dreamy! I imagine that honey, polenta, and caramel create quite a magical taste. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I hope you have a bright and sunny week!

  6. Lora @cakeduchess

    I love any thing baked with polenta. Your cookies look really good and love your new blog:)You look like you’ve found your baking niche:)Paris must have been incredible. Can’t wait for more photos xo

  7. Alicia

    Oh my goodness these look so delicious and that caramel sauce looks amazing!! So glad that you found my blog so that I could find yours!!

  8. Barbara

    Very intriguing cookie! I’ve made cakes with polenta and agree with your husband…the grainy aspect does put some people off. But I’d love to try your cookie. So cute and that honey dripping all over the top makes them sweet enough.
    Thanks for visiting….so pleased to have a new blog buddy!

  9. Katie

    Oh, These sound just fantastic. I love the idea of cookies just dripping with homemade caramel. It definitely takes a long time to recreate a secrete recipe, so congrats on getting so close! I often don’t have the patience to do it!

  10. Bonnie Banters

    These cookies are so very different…I love a crunchy taste, and who can resist caramel?

    Your new site is like a window opened and your cakes are gorgeous!

    Best, Bonnie

  11. Liz

    Hooray for the Top 9 today, Monet! These unique and wonderful cookies deserve all sorts of accolades!!! Loving your new look here :) xo

  12. Becky


    These sweet little heart shaped cookies look so delectable with the caramel drizzle. I’m Pinning these.

    Congrats on the Top 9 today!

  13. Cristina

    I luv using polenta and the texture it lends to the dish or baked good. Will be trying these for sure. Welcome back Monet!! I like the openness and cheeriness of your new site design! :)

  14. Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out

    Yum! These look so good. I love anything polenta or cornmeal related, so I bet I would love these! Also, one of my best friends is diabetic, so using only honey as the sweetener makes these the perfect cookie for him.

  15. Beth Michelle

    Love your new space Monet! So lovely. These cookies sound and look amazing and delicious! Using polenta in a baked good always brings such a great textural and flavor element.

  16. Casey

    I saw these on the Top 9 and came running. The combination of polenta and honey is what got to me. Sounds delicious. Congratulations on your new site.

  17. Chaya

    This is a fantastic recipe. I like the idea of a little crunch to the cookie from the polenta. Would you link this to Bake with Bizzy?

  18. Reeni

    Your new site is so pretty! It perfectly suits you. The cookies sound scrumptious to me – I like the heartier texture and the combination with honey. Hope you are doing well! Enjoy your weekend! xoxo

  19. Sara

    Hiya, your cookies look absolutely amazing, I think I just have to try them! I have a couple of questions:
    I seem to be able to get 2 types of fine polenta, one is indeed fine but you can tell it’s grainy, the other one looks just like regular flour (except yellow). Which one would you recommend?
    Also, how many cookies does your recipe yield and do they keep well? I may need to make some to bring them to work the following day!

    1. Monet Post author

      Hi Sara! I think the choice of polenta is entirely up to you. I’ve used the fine polenta, and I find that it imparts a lovely flavor, but the coarse polenta lends a grainier texture.

      And the amount of cookies will depend on the size of your cookie cutter. I’d say you could plan for 2 dozen.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

  20. Joanne

    Oh I am SO enamored with these. While I love a good ooey gooey cookie, I also love unique flavored cookies. And these definitely fit the bill!

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