Lemon is my favorite flavoring in desserts. But it seems that I'm in the minority with this preference. Whenever I'm in a restaurant and choose a dessert that is lemony, someone always tries to convince me to go for the chocolate dessert instead. I do love chocolate, but there is something about the bright flavor of citrus that makes me choose it every time. Whenever I bake a cake, I always add either lemon or orange zest to the batter even if the recipe doesn't call for it. I just find it adds that something extra special to the mix.
This recipe for lemon-ricotta cookies is a favorite of mine because it focuses on lemon. The cookies look more like little cakes or cupcake tops than cookies. The ricotta gives them the texture and moistness of cake and the flavor of cheesecake. You may have seen them iced with sugar, or taken one step further and sandwiched together with lemon frosting to create whoopie pies. They're a versatile cookie. I like them plain just as they are and enjoyed with an espresso or cappuccino. If I'm craving something sweet in the morning or in the afternoon, I reach for one to pair with my coffee. Just don't forget to share, this recipe makes a lot.
Recipe adapted from Giada's Kitchen by Giada De Laurentiis.
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups whole-milk ricotta
3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. Sift together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix until combined. Add lemon juice, zest, and vanilla; mix until combined. Add ricotta, a few spoonful at a time, and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix until combined.
Use a small releasable ice cream scoop to drop balls of the batter evenly onto the baking sheets, about 12 per sheet. Bake until edges are just slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. Finally, bake the remaining batch. Yield: 48 cookies.