Mother’s Day is tomorrow. I wrote about my grandma and her sage advice along with some strawberry rhubarb galettes last time. Today, these cookies are for my mom. She loves lemon, hates chocolate, and is always looking for a good cookie recipe. These fit squarely into all three categories. Prior to these beauties, I’d never had a traditional Italian lemon ricotta cookie. After comparing some recipes from a few notable Italians who probably know what they’re doing (Giada and someone at the New York Times’s Italian grandma) and a few trial-and-errors of my own, I settled on these.
One comment on the NYT recipe called these “cakelets” instead of cookies. Can’t say I disagree – these cookies are incredibly soft, tender, and cake-like. No crispy edges, definitely not chewy. Melt-in-your mouth? For sure! These are double glazed because the first round of glaze I drizzled on the warm cookies settled right in once they cooled (this is a good thing!), so I needed a follow-up glazing to make sure there was enough left on the top. For aesthetic purposes only of course 😉
Not that I have loads of other lemon ricotta cookies to compare these to, but dang, these are good. They’re bright with plenty of fresh lemon. They keep well, are even better the second day, and are perfect for sharing with neighbors. Mom, I think you’ll love them!
Double-Glazed Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis and New York Times, One-bowl and even better the second day, these Double-Glazed Lemon Ricotta Cookies are soft, tender, cake-like, and topped off with a bright lemon glaze.
For the cookies
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- zest from 5 lemons
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the lemon glaze
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- zest from 1 lemon
- pinch of salt
In a stand mixer, combine the butter, sugar, and lemon zest, and beat until light, fluffy, and very pale. Add the vanilla, eggs, egg yolks, and beat again until thoroughly combined and smooth. Next add in the ricotta, lemon juice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix again until combined - it probably won't look as smooth at this point, which is fine. Finally, add in the flour and mix until just combined - try not to over mix, but also don't leave any flour crumbs in the bottom of the bowl.
Scoop the dough into 3 tablespoon mounds onto a baking sheet prepped with a piece of parchment paper. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and space evenly on a parchment covered baking sheet. (You can use the same one the dough was on earlier, you'll just want to transfer the other cookie dough mounds onto a separate plate.) 9 fit pretty well on a standard cookie sheet - these are pretty big cookies and they do spread quite a bit. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, until the edges just barely start to brown.
While the cookies are baking, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter for the glaze. Add the powdered sugar to the butter, then mix in the lemon juice, zest, and salt, and mix until smooth, making sure to smash any lumps of powdered sugar against the side of the bowl.
Once the cookies are fresh out of the oven, let them sit on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling wrack with foil or parchment under it. While the cookies are still warm, spoon a teaspoon of the glaze over the top of each cookie, nudging the glaze to the edges. Once all the cookies are glazed and completely cool, glaze the cookies one additional time. Let the cookies sit for at least an hour before you try to stack them or package them up for sharing 🙂