lemon ricotta cookies

I was back in Michigan a few weeks ago and a good friend invited me for dinner, as she always does when I’m in town.  I never say no.  First, because she’s an amazing woman and I love spending time with her and her husband.  Second, she’s a freaking amazing cook!!!  Dinner was fabulous, as always, but the pièce de résistance was the cookie.  I kid you not, the cookie made me nearly forget a spectacular dinner.  That’s how good it was.

It was soooo good, I was still dreaming about it when I got back to Arizona four days later.  Blessed as we are in the desert with an abundance of citrus trees, and blessed as we are with generous neighbors who leave boxes of fresh citrus in their yard for the taking, it wasn’t long before I was in possession of some big, bright, beautiful lemons.  Not the scrawny, juice-less grocery store variety.  I’m talking about big, fat, tree-ripened fruit that leaves the heady scent of lemon in your palms when you roll them gently in your hands.

The best thing to do with lemons like that is to find a recipe that uses as much of the lemony goodness as possible.  The lemon ricotta cookie recipe does just that.  It calls for lots of fresh lemon juice and the zest of two lemons.  Seriously!  If you love lemon like I love lemon, you’re going to adore these.  The cookie is very cake-like: soft and moist, and full of lemon flavor.  The icing is just a flavor explosion in your mouth.  That’s weird, but it’s the only way I can think of to describe it.  The sweetness of the powdered sugar is complimented beautifully by the tart lemon juice, and it’s speckled with pretty yellow flecks of color from the zest of an entire lemon.  Heaven, I tell you!!

My husband ate one the night I baked them and said….no joke, “This might just be the best cookie ever!”  But, you won’t know until you make them yourself.  Enjoy!

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Recipe Courtesy: Giada De Laurentis and The Food Network

Ingredients:

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 (I used part-skim)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cookies:

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.

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. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours before eating.

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