Monday, September 13, 2010

Baked: Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Ever since we remodeled our kitchen back in April, spending time in the kitchen has been much more enjoyable. As a result, I've been doing a lot more baking. Cookies are my favourite.

Last week, I had a hunkering for something lemony, so I whipped up a batch of Giada De Laurentiis' Lemon Ricotta Cookies.

Yields: 44 cookies

    * 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon baking powder
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    * 2 cups sugar
    * 2 eggs
    * 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
    * 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    * 1 lemon, zested

    * 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    * 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    * 1 lemon, zested

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) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

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. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container.

The result

The cookies turned out light, airy and moist, almost like ladyfingers, but also had a really nice richness from the ricotta. I loved the cookies on their own and didn't feel that they needed the glaze. The glaze was intense - like lemon candy - and it really overpowers the cookie, even though I had doubled the lemon juice in the cookie. Depending on what you want, I'd suggest trying the cookies on their own before deciding whether or not to add the glaze. (I think that the naked cookies are great with a cup of tea, but perhaps you like candy-like cookies, as my husband does!) You could also try substituting some of the lemon juice in the glaze with water.

One more subtle tip about the directions: you'll make your life a little easier if you beat the butter first, before mixing in the sugar. This is the standard procedure in Better Homes and Gardens recipes that I always use; it's a good way to cheat if you're like me and always forget to let the butter thaw.

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