I do love my lemon, and I will not apologize. I like it strong and unabashedly tart, especially in desserts. So I decided to give this recipe by Giada a whirl -- lemon ricotta cookies. Now I've used ricotta cheese in desserts before, but never as part of a cookie batter, so I was anxious to try it out.
These cookies are fairly easy to assemble, just start by zesting and juicing some lemons.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add the eggs, cheese, lemon juice and zest.
Add in the dry ingredients (premix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl first).
Drop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet with a #40 scoop (or about 2 tbls per cookie)
Bake about 15 minutes but watch them carefully, it is easy to burn the bottoms. When the edges just start to turn golden, they are done.
Have your glaze (powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest) ready to go. The cookies need to set on the cookie sheet for 20 minutes before they can be moved to a cooling rack, and this is the perfect time to glaze them, while they are still warm (the heat will help you spread the glaze more easily). Spoon on the zest, and use the back of the spoon to gently spread the glaze. Be careful, the cookies are delicate, you don't want to rip the tops.
The glaze needs about 2 hours to fully set before you can think about packaging them. I was very surprised by the texture of these cookies. They were almost pillow-like, soft and chewy, with a great lemon flavor.
You'll notice on the bottom, there are two ingredients that I put a range for rather than an absolute value. The first is the amount of sugar in the cookie batter. Giada's original recipe called for 2 cups, but I (and some other reviewers) thought this was too sweet) used 1.5 cups of sugar instead. I really wanted the lemon flavor to shine through, so I dialed down the sugar. I loved how mine turned out, but I am really picky about lemon-flavored desserts, the cookies might have more general appeal with 2 cups of sugar in the batter, I don't know.
The second range is the amount of zest in the glaze. I have doubled the glaze recipe, because the amount Giada called for was rather small, and the bulk of the lemon strength comes from the glaze so I didn't want to skimp on it. Keeping the proportions the same as Giada's glaze, this glaze recipe should call for the zest of 2 lemons. I liked the zest at this strength, some found her glaze proportions too lemony, so if you just want a nice hint of lemon, use 1 lemon worth of zest in the glaze instead of 2.
Also, for giggles, I tried these cookies with lime juice and zest instead of lemon, and sprinkled some toasted coconut on top. These were also quite good, and in retrospect, toasted coconut would be a fine addition to the lemon version as well. Just make sure to sprinkle the coconut on before the glaze sets, otherwise it won't stick.
All in all, I was quite pleased with how these lemon cookies turned out. I think they are a great choice for a lemon cookie, especially if you want something that tastes a little fancier. These would be a great cookie to serve with afternoon tea!
Lemon Ricotta Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1.5-2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 lemon, zested
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 6 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tbls vegetable oil
- 1-2 lemons, zested
- toasted coconut (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated.
- Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine.
- Stir in the dry ingredients.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie or a #40 scoop) onto the baking sheets.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges.
- Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
- FOR GLAZE: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Sprinkle on toasted coconut if using.
- Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container.