When Life Gives You Ricotta…
…make lemon ricotta cookies! You’re probably thinking hey, shouldn’t it be “when life gives you lemons…”? Well not in this case. You see, the night before, I put together my spinach and mushroom lasagna and wound up with a ton of extra ricotta mixture (ricotta cheese mixed with eggs). Had it not been for a sudden stroke of genius to use this mixture in a dessert with some meyer lemons I had in the house, the ricotta would have gone to waste. But nevertheless, YOU MUST MAKE THESE COOKIES and I’ll tell you why.
First of all, I have to give myself a pat on the back. Not only am I proud that I made these spectacular cookies, I made them without any extra trips to the grocery store! Once you have lemons and ricotta in the house, you’ll probably find the rest of the ingredients in your pantry or refrigerator: butter, sugar, powdered sugar, baking soda, salt and flour. That’s it!
After deciding I was going to make something with lemons and ricotta, my initial thought was to make a lemon ricotta tart. But after scouring the Internet for the best lemon ricotta recipe, cookies seemed like an easier, tastier, bet. And like I said, I already had most of the ingredients.
This recipe originally comes from Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network. We usually have pretty good luck with Giada’s recipes around here so when I saw her name on the recipe, I knew it had to be good.
AND THEY WERE. I’m a huge Girl Scout cookie lover and it’s generally pretty hard to sway my addiction to Thin Mints. One bite of these lemon ricotta cookies and I don’t even remember I have Thin Mints in the house. They’re that good. Maybe I needed a change of pace from chocolate desserts (dating a chocoholic makes dessert options somewhat limited) or maybe they’re so good they have the ability to convert chocoholics to lemon ricotta-holics. Ok, so I’m pushing it, but you get my point.
Now I probably could have made these same cookies without any ricotta but I don’t think they would have turned out nearly as good. The ricotta gives these cookies a moist softness making them almost scone-like in texture. It’s no wonder the stuff turns up in muffins, pancakes and tarts all the time. And always with lemon too! These two ingredients were a match made in heaven it seems.
The glaze was super easy too. At first, I didn’t make enough of it but that was no problem when I all had to do to make more was pour some lemon juice into some powdered sugar. It gives the cookies that extra sweetness and seals in all the great flavors by giving the cookies a sort of shell.
The only problem with this recipe is that now that I’m out of ricotta cheese, I want to go out and buy some more so I can make these cookies!
As for the meyer lemons, you can certainly substitute regular lemons. Meyer lemons are simply smaller and sweeter but they essentially have the same flavor. I just like to utilize them in their short lived season while I have the chance. I decided to get a little fancy and slice up some extra meyer lemons and blood oranges for a photo shoot. Citrus can be so pretty!
I had some leftover ricotta cheese from a lasagna recipe so I made these cookies – best lemon cookies I’ve ever tasted! They are incredibly moist and delicious and make a great end to any meal. You can certainly substitute regular lemons for meyer lemons.
1 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 stick butter
6 oz. ricotta cheese
2/3 C. sugar
2-3 Tbs. meyer lemon juice
1 tsp. meyer lemon zest
1/2 C. powdered or confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbs. meyer lemon juice
1 tsp. meyer lemon zest
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) and set aside. In a medium to large bowl, beat butter and sugar until the mixture becomes fluffy. Add egg and ricotta cheese and beat until combined. Add lemon juice, stir. Add dry ingredients and stir. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Make them whatever size you like.
Bake for 15 minutes in a 375-degree oven. After removing the cookies, let them rest for 20 minutes.
To prepare the glaze, mix powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. When cookies are cool, spoon glaze onto each.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe on The Food Network.