Monday, February 17, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

I've always thought of these soft, cake-like cookies as little drops of sunshine. I am desperately craving sunshine right now, so I'll take it in any form I can get. Currently, it's sleeting outside, and we're supposed to get more snow later today. It seems like this dismal winter will never end, and I'm beginning to feel like I'm in a version of Groundhog Day, reliving the same cold day over and over again. 

Speaking of little weather-predicting rodents, why'd Phil have to see his shadow this year anyway? I'm not sure I can take four more weeks of this... Don't worry though, I won't take any toasters into the bathroom or anything else Bill Murray's character attempted!

If ever a cookie could beat away the winter blues, these little guys could. Their sunshiny-ness obviously comes from the inclusion of fresh lemons, but it's the glaze that really brightens them up. It is tart and fresh and bursting with sweet, lemony goodness. 

I've made these lemon ricotta cookies for parties and potlucks many times, and they're always a hit. I usually get recipe requests whenever I make them, so it only seems appropriate I finally share the recipe here. Plus they include two of my favorite ingredients: ricotta and lemon. Here are some other favorites we've shared in the past that feature ricotta or lemon:

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

These cookies are very cake-like with a soft and delicate crumb. No crunchy or chewy cookies here! 

Yield: 36 2-inch cookies

Total Time: 3 hours; Prep Time: 30 minutes; Bake Time: 15 minutes (per cookie sheet)

For the cookies:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese, perhaps homemade
3 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
1 lemon, zested

For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
1 lemon, zested

For the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, with racks set in the upper third and lower third of the oven. 

Add flour, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, being sure that the first is completely incorporated before adding the next. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest and beat to combine. Gently fold in the dry ingredients, taking care not to over-mix.

Line three baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. If you have one, use a spring loaded disher to evenly portion out the dough (about two tablespoons worth per cookies). Leave at least an inch between the cookies as they will puff slightly in the oven. Bake two of the trays for eight minutes and then switch and rotate the pans. Bake for another seven minutes, until the edges are slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on their sheets for 20 minutes. Repeat with the remaining sheet of cookies. 

For the glaze:
Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Gently spoon a small amount of glaze onto each cookie and spread with the back of a spoon. Glaze will take about 2 hours to completely harden. 

Store in an airtight container.

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