Lemon Ricotta Cookies


for the cookies:
1 1/3 cups  flour
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
4 1/2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
8 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 large lemon’s worth)
zest of one lemon

for the glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 large lemon’s worth)
zest of one lemon


for the cookies:

Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Place the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and mix the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg,  ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients until a light, fluffy batter forms.

Spoon the dough (I used a medium cookie scoop for large-ish cookies) onto the lined baking sheets, placing each cookie about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they are just beginning to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven. Carefully remove to a wire rack and cool 20-30 minutes.

for the glaze:

Place the wire rack (with the cookies still on it!) over a cookie sheet to catch drips.

Whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth glaze forms. Spoon 1 teaspoon glaze over each cookie, spreading to coat if desired.  Let the glaze set at least 1-2 hours before packing into storage containers.

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies, can be easily doubled

My thoughts:
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that last week I got an opportunity to check out Giada de Laurentiis’ new restaurant here in Baltimore. She was there talking about her vision and even served me personally pasta! It was a lot of fun. Anyway, after a few of the guests had left, I heard her asking the staff if we were going to be served dessert. They didn’t seem to have planned it but she told them they had to serve us something sweet (the restaurant wasn’t officially open yet, this was a preview) and within a few minutes a few plates of lemon-ricotta cookies were brought out. OMG. I am such a chocolate cookie person but these were seriously some of the best cookies I have ever had. Light and fluffy yet substantial and with a great tart lemon-ricotta flavor. I would have dumped them in my purse had there been any extras.

The next day I went on my usual trip to Aldi (plug for my Aldi fan blog here) and picked up some lemons and ricotta so I could recreate the cookies on my own. A little experimenting and I came up with this recipe. The cookies are a little bit bigger than the ones I had at GDL Italian thanks to the size of the cookie scoop I used. It is a fluffy, sort of cake-like batter so I felt like a cookie scoop was needed vs just using a spoon. If you want smaller cookies use a smaller cookie scoop or try using a spoon. It really is up to you! The trick to getting the perfect lemon-ricotta flavor is using full fat ricotta and a lot of lemon zest and juice. Citrus has a tendency to “bake out” of baked goods–this is why extracts are used in a lot of recipes–but the zest retains the flavor a lot better so don’t be tempted to skip it even though it means using actual lemons and not just bottled juice. I developed the recipe so you should only need (and use) 2 full lemons, I know citrus can be pricey this time of year and I hate waste.

If lemon-y, slightly tart, tangy cookies with a soft, almost cake-like texture intrigue you, these are the cookies for you! Seriously, one of the best cookies I’ve made or even had ever! And I have made a ton of cookies and basically plan vacations around bakeries so this really means something.

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