1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup currants or raisins
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1. Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degree F. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment or foil.
2. In a large bowl combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add butter and rub between palms of your hands until the mixture is mixed in finely, but is still powdery. Stir in the currants. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, yolk and vanilla and add to the dough. Stir with a fork until the mixture forms a soft dough.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it under the palms of your hands to a fat cylinder. Cut the dough into 3 pieces and roll each to a cylinder 12 inches long. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and cut each into 1/2 thick slices on the diagonal to form diamond shapes. Place the cookies on the prepared pan leaving about 1 inch all around each.
4. Bake the cookies until they are well risen and firm, about 20 minutes. Halfway through baking, switch racks so that the one on the bottom rack is on the top and vice versa. Cool the cookies on the pans on racks. Just before serving, dust lightly with confectioners' sugar.
Nick Malgieri's cornmeal cookies, or zaleti--whose name means "little yellow things--" are popular in the Venato and are seen throughout Northwestern Italy.