Pasta isn’t the only cuisine Italians are known for. In the middle of all the country’s savory deliciousness there’s definitely a place for those who love sweets. Deep-fried cannoli stuffed with sweet creamy ricotta cheese, chewy almond-flavored amaretti, smooth panna cotta, and of course gelato, which requires a blog all its own, are some of Italy’s contributions to the dessert world.
I discovered this recipe for the not-quite-as-famous lemon ricotta cookies with lemon glaze several years ago and love their simplicity. Made with ricotta, a small curd fresh cheese, these cookies are light and fluffy. The touch of lemon means they’re not overbearingly sweet and they offer variety to your normal array of Christmas peanut butter kisses cookies, frosted sugar cookies, gingerbread people, candy canes, etc.
Here’s what you’ll need:
2-1/2 c. flour sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 stick softened butter
2 c. sugar
1 15-oz container of ricotta (don’t buy anything fat-free or lowfat)
3 T. lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 tsp. vanilla, because vanilla makes everything taste better!
Heat oven to 375º F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or used greased cookie sheets.
Mix dry ingredients. Then in a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes. (“Creaming” probably isn’t the best word. The consistency is more like sugary fluff.)
Add eggs one at a time.
Next, add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.
Stir in the dry ingredients.
Use a small cookie scoop to create perfectly round cookies and drop onto the cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes (taking them out just a little sooner than this keeps them from turning brown around the edges). After you’ve removed them from the oven, let them sit for 20 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing them (Don’t leave them on too long or they’re hard to get off). Once they’re cool, top with this lemon glaze.
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
3 T lemon juice
Sprinkle lemon zest over the tops of the cookies.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Original recipe Giada De Laurentis