Tuscan Lemon Ricotta Cookies

italian-lemon-cookies-2When I got home and smelled the lemony smell of baking, I thought: Cheesecake? Lemon Custard Pie? The smell was intoxicating. Then, on the counter there was a bowl of icing-sugar dusted cookies. Obviously it went from table to tongue in a nanosecond. My mouth was filled with a perfume of lemon, and the taste was light, delicate and absolutely delicious. My mind went to Sorrento, and I was sitting under a trellis where the old lemon trees were bearing fruit the size of footballs. I thought of lemoncello and the balmy summer evening when Heidi and I sat there, inhaling the fresh saltiness of the Italian coast.

And all this from a cookie!

You could perhaps gather that I find these cookies intriguing and absolutely delicious. Growing up in a house where baking was a source of income to augment my dad’s meager salary, I am used to cookies and cakes and baking, and really miss the memories of popping my mom’s cookies into my mouth. A mom just bakes better. And now, as I popped the second cookie into my mouth, I realised (this will sound stupid) that Heidi is now mom to our kids, and, as parents are destined to become the memories of kids, she is the mom that just bakes better. What a privilege to grow up in a house of culinary delights. And, I must say, if she doesn’t make these cookies again soon, I may have to resort to begging… (Or bribery, promising her our next trip to Italy).

Ingredients:

900g All purpose flour
5 ml (1 teasp) Bicarbonate of Soda
15 ml (1 tblsp) Baking Powder
1 Lemon Juice and zest of whole lemon
450 gr Sugar
4 Eggs
500 gr Ricotta
230 gr Soft margarine or butter
Finishing:
5ml (1 teasp) Cinnamon
125 gr Icing Sugar

Instructions:

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 180’C.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest; beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  7. Spoon the dough (about a tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 25 minutes, or until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
  8. Combine the cinnamon and icing sugar.  Roll the cookies in the mixture before you place them in an airtight container.

Alternative finish:

Make a glaze from 1.5 c icing sugar, 3 tblsp lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon.  Add a little bit more lemon juice to reach the desired consistency.  Spoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread.

 

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