Pistachio Cornmeal Butter Cookies

Sometimes memories come back to you for no reason at all, this morning as I sat having my coffee, I had flashback to a time so many years ago at Mama Jeanette’s table.  It was so very long ago, but it seems like it was just yesterday.   It’s funny how something that happened yesterday can escape your memory, while something that happened 40 years ago can be crystal clear……sigh

I had gotten up earlier than usual that morning,  there was a lot of work to do on the house and I wanted to get as much done as I could before the afternoon heat settled in.   Summertime in Louisiana can be pretty rough as the day goes on, between the heat, humidity and mosquitoes the size of small birds, it makes it hard to want to stay outside much after lunch, so those mornings the earlier the better!  That morning I found a pot of coffee on the stove, and a plate of cookies on the table, with a not that read, “Sonny boy these are my Mama’s famous Pistachio cookies, I hope you like them”.

It was the first time Mama Jeanette had made those cookies for me, and as I devoured the  first few, I thought there was something wrong with them, they were gritty, almost sandy.  But I was hungry so I popped another cookie in my mouth and got a glass of milk from the fridge…….. after a few minutes as I finished my glass of milk I looked down to see I had eaten the entire plate of cookies.

Those buttery sandy salty sweet cookies would always be my favorite version of  her corn meal cookies.  I don’t know what triggered that memory this morning, somethings just happen for no reason at all, but I’m sure glad it did.   I couldn’t quite remember the exact proportions for Mama Jeanette’s  cookie, so I ended up going to another Italian Mama to help me.  I found a recipe in one of Lydia Bastianich’s cookbooks for a plain Corn meal cookie, and adapted it to include Pistachio’s.  My corn meal cookies came out pretty well for a first attempt, but I have to work on the ratio’s a bit more to get to that state of Nirvana, Mama Jeanette always managed to achieve with her cookies, they were truly legendary!


5.0 from 8 reviews
Pistachio Cornmeal Butter Cookies
Serves: 24 cookies
  • ½ cup Salted Pistachios (chopped in food processor leave some pieces)*
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • ¾ Cup Cornmeal (recipe called for medium grind polenta)
  • ⅔ cup Sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 12 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (6 oz) softened
  • 4 large Egg Yolks
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  1. In the bowl of your food processor, chop the pistachios until some are finely ground but you still have pieces.
  2. Add the flour, corn meal, sugar, and salt and pulse until blended
  3. Add softened butter and pulse until fully incorporated into dry ingredients (scrape down the side of the bowl to make sure it gets fully blended)
  4. Mix the eggs yolks and vanilla and add to the mixture, pulsing briefly until dough forms on blade.
  5. dump dough onto counter and form into log, wrap in cellophane wrap and refrigerate for at least 30
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  7. slice dough into ¼ inch circles and place on buttered cookie sheet
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cookies are firm and golden, with a touch of brown on the outer edges.
  9. Cool completely on wire rack
*if your not a fan of nuts omit them and just increase the cornmeal to 1 cup


If you’ve never tried a Corn meal cookie, please give this recipe a try, I promise after the initial confusion in your mouth, you’ll love them.  If you don’t like pistachios try them as a plain cornmeal butter cookie, I did a batch of those as well, and the flavor was amazing.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, I hope you have a very happy day as we start another work week!  We’re on a lunch day count down at the Mount with only 8 more lunch days this year…….Summer’s Comin’ my friends, Summers A Comin’!


  1. I have a soft spot for pistachios… and while I am happy to eat them on their own, there is something so brilliant about baking with them. Cookies, ice cream, cake… I’ll take it however I can get it.

  2. Love these food memories Chef Dennis and how you tried to recreate these memorable cookies using pistachios. I’ve never tried baking with pistachio meal, but I bet it adds some nice flavor to these sandy cookies.

  3. Oh wow, I have never had a cornmeal cookie, but I must try one VERY soon! These cookies sound like a light, buttery cookie:-) Yum! Take care, Terra

  4. These cookies look delish with a glass of ice cold milk or hot tea. Gotta try this recipe.

  5. I would love to try these cookies, as I often long for the sandy type. The addition of pistachios make them extra tempting. Yum!

  6. Muy ricas y apetecibles tus galletas, deben ser deliciosas y tú seguro que le darás un toque magistral.

  7. This is indeed a great recipe. Loved the combination of pistachios and cornmeal. These cookies look absolutely delectable 🙂

  8. I’m so glad you’ve gone back to sharing some Mama Jeannette stories! I’m not surprised you ended up eating an entire plate of those; they look delicious. No, I’ve never tried a cornmeal cookie, but I have a feeling that’s going to change soon. Have a great week, Chef. I miss seeing you around.

  9. Cornmeal & pistachios are a couple of my favorite things…. definitely hitting my “must try” pile. Thanks for the memory, I enjoy your blog tremendously.

  10. Your photos look gorgeous, so I’m sure these cornmeal cookies are just as delicious! I’ve never had cornmeal in cookies, but now you make me want to try it. Looks like a short-bread type of cookie and if so, it’s my kind of cookie! Thanks for sharing, Chef Dennis!

  11. Those are the best memories! I still think of my grandmother and her apple pie each and every single time I bake one.

  12. Chef Dennis, I love stories (and cookies) with substance. This post was satisfying on both accounts!

  13. I love cookies with a lot of history. Makes it all the more special. Love to whip some of these treats!

  14. These are lovely cookies Dennis. You know I have a huge love affair with pistachios.

  15. Wow…the cookies are looking so soft and irresistible! And adding some pistachio to the mix makes it all togther more wholesome combo. Regards, Sonia

  16. These look amazing! I love the idea of cornmeal in cookies!

  17. Buttery sandy salty sweet sounds so right. Congratulations on The Top Nine!

  18. These delicious biscuits, very tenderly your story. Hello Daniela.

  19. Charlotte says:

    Cornmeal has become a trendy item to use in recipes in the past few years – especially in desserts. The United States South has known about cornmeal for years so it’s nothing new to us! Thanks for the memories – and the cookies!

  20. Thanks for posting, Chef Dennis! I’ve used cornmeal in nut breads (delicious), but I’m going to be checking out this recipe soon- sounds awesome! AND, now I can make some yummy dessert with egg whites and have a place to use those yolks. Very cool. Oh, and congrats on making Foodbuzz’s Top Nine!

  21. Mei-I @ gastronomic nomad says:

    I love your Mama Jeanette stories! So glad you shared this. Reminds me of the Chinese almond cookies a bit.

  22. Cheryl S. says:

    These cookies look amazing!!!! Going out to purchase some pistachios as soon as I finish typing this sentence! 🙂

  23. hi Chef Dennis these sound delicious… Might just have to go and buy the ingredients and give it a whirl today.

  24. what a wonderful idea to use cornmeal in cookies! i’m so intrigued, i need to try this!

  25. I love this combination of flavors. I’m not much of a cookie eater but I’m saving this one!

  26. Congratulations on your foodbuzz top 9, today!

  27. I bet these have a great texture!

  28. Congrats Chef !!! Mama Jeanette’s cookies a winner alright! Well done ! 🙂

  29. Your description is beautiful. I love how so many tastes and aromas can make a memory live on. I’m a huge fan of anything slaty and sweet, so these sound heavenly to me. Be well and congratulations. 🙂

  30. These cookies look awesome! I love pistachios so I def need to make these. Thanks for sharing!

  31. i won’t say that it’s a sig of age, but… Lol! You are doing better than me. Since I had kids, I can’t seem to remember anything very well! I’ve never heard of a corn meal cookie. That I would have remembered!

  32. I love the description of “sandy”!! Irresistible!!

  33. These look great! They always have these sandy, gluten free cookies at school that I love, but can’t for the life of me figure out how to make. Maybe corn meal?

    • definitely corn meal, and try replacing the all purpose flour with your favorite gluten free flour. It’s the butter that really kicks the flavor up, I don’t think the flours will affect the flavor, and the corn meal gives it the sandy texture.

  34. Debra Kapellakis says:

    I have never had a corn meal cookie. I am excited to try to make these.

  35. These look amazing! I’ve not made anything with cornmeal before.

  36. I’ve been looking for sweet things to do with corn and I love pistachios so I will definitely give these a try! (though admittedly, it may be dangerous, as I could probably eat the whole tray!)

  37. I love pistachios. Can’t wait to try these cookies!

  38. I have never tried cornmeal cookies before…They look incredible! 🙂

  39. Hey, have just hopped over from G+. I am one of those who’s not tried a cornmeal cookie! I love pistachios, so I’m going to be brave and get over my psychological aversion (!) and try this recipe in the new year. And when I do, I’ll let you know what I think!

  40. I made them tiday, and my kids loved them!

  41. Years ago I worked in a school cafeteria. I was the baker and I made cornmeal cookies. I did not keep that recipe to my regret. We also baked in such large quantities so it would have been hard to break that down. So I was delighted to see your recipe and can’t wait to try it.

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