I'm sort of a snob when it comes to cookies. It's a bit of a my-way-or-the-highway method of how I think cookies ought to be: chewy and not crunchy, soft-centered and not evenly textured the whole way through, sticky and never dry. That's part of the reason a chocolate chip cookie recipe still doesn't appear on this site despite the one year anniversary mark that is quickly rounding the corner: every time I make a batch, they completely miss the mark on how I want my cookies to be. They always spread too far and so thin that they're nearly translucent at the tummy, or on the rare occasion they do hold together their taste isn't anything to write home about. So yeah, the comment box is now open for suggestions.
I avoided making these because the few times I've heard about them they were boasted as having a "cake-like texture" and I am a firm believer that if you want something that resembles cake, you should eat cake. I'd taken a solemn vow to only bake cookies that meet my insanely high cookie standards, and cakey texture would be going against the grain. But you know something? I think that's what we need here, a chance to go against the grain. Or against our cookie vows. Or whatever.
It wasn't until after I baked these that I learned they are a Giada de Laurentiis recipe and well, you all know my feelings on the busty Italian, so knowing I succumbed to another one of her recipes wounded my ego a bit, but one bite of these cookies was enough to make me forget my well-thought-out-dislike for her. They're made with ricotta cheese, something I wouldn't think to include in dessert because hey, it goes in lasagna and something about that sort of crossover just doesn't sit right with me, but it gives them a super-moist texture that was better than most cakes I've ever had. You must trust me. Lasagna : no. Cookies : yes.
Punched up with a hefty dose of lemon, the cookies on their own are quite delicious, but they're made even better with a pale slick of tart lemon glaze across the top, a lesson my Mom learned the hard way when she ate one plain and announced, "These are okay, but I think something's missing. They need icing or something." Not worry, Mom, I'm on it.
The recipe says to use whole-milk ricotta cheese but between you, me and the fence post, I used reduced fat and they turned out just fine. Because when you have the choice between 2 grams of fat per serving and 10, use your head. I also upped the amount of glaze because even with the additional amount, I was scraping the bottom of the bowl to get it all. Then again, I like quite a bit of glaze on my cookies and I think you will, too.
Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cookies: In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
Glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.