If you are looking for a tender, cake-like cookie that is not too sweet, but has a delightful lemon flavor that makes it perfect to pair with coffee or tea, this Italian Ricotta Cookie recipe will be one you want to try. These cookies are always a hit at our house. I even made 2 batches during Christmas in order to have some for my daughter to take back with her.
They are such a festive looking cookie to bake during Christmas and New Year’s, but you can make them any time of year. If you want, you can tint the icing with food coloring. Some people like to tint it red or green for Christmas. You could tint it pink or blue for baby showers or gender reveal parties as well. I prefer white and just change the colors of the nonpareils or sugar sprinkles I use if I want to make them a bit different.
It is very important to use whole milk ricotta when baking these cookies, part skim does not taste the same. Also, be sure to cool the cookies on cooling racks before icing them. Never frost a hot or warm cookie. The recipe says to chill the dough, but if you are pressed for time, I have made them without chilling the dough and they came out fine.
- Ingredients For Dough
- I cup of softened butter
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 ¾ cups (15 oz) of whole milk ricotta cheese
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2-1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cups of flour
- 2 tsp of baking soda
- 3/4 tsp of sea salt
- Ingredients For Icing
- 1 tbs of melted butter
- 1-1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk (use as needed to think icing to correct consistency)
- Cream the 2 sticks of butter with sugar until fluffy with electric mixer. Add ricotta, lemon zest, vanilla extract and mix well. Add in eggs, one at a time. Scrape sides of bowl and then begin to slowly mix in flour, one cup at a time. Add baking soda and salt and mix until blended. If you want you can chill dough for several hours or overnight. You can also bake immediately.
- Scoop with a cookie scoop and place about 2" apart onto a non-stick baking sheet liner or parchment paper. Bake cookies at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Remove cookies and let cool on wire rack.
- To make icing, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and whisk into the confectioners sugar with lemon juice, add enough milk to make a spreadable icing. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread icing onto top of cookies and sprinkle with sprinkles, nonpareils, decorative sugar or other decors. Let cookies set until icing is hard.
Watch my complete baking tutorial video for these cookies below.