This untraditional Ricotta Cookies Recipe is a unique addition to the holiday cookie box.
These cookies are soft and billowy, and reminiscent of a day in the Italian countryside.
The key to this recipe is using fresh, flavorful oranges — California Navels or Valencias are best. One orange will render enough juice and zest for this recipe. Also, do not try to “cut calories” by using low-fat or partially skim ricotta. Use the real deal. When creaming the butter and sugar, beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for at least 3 minutes, preferably 5 minutes, or until the mixture is no longer gritty (set a timer — 3 minutes is longer than you think). Creaming incorporates air into the batter and gives the cookie a nice rise.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal (medium grind)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 orange, zested
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao)
To make cookies: Heat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In medium bowl mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl, beat butter and sugar, using electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until thoroughly incorporated.
Beat in ricotta cheese, orange juice and zest. Using rubber spatula, turn batter over several times to thoroughly blend. Stir in flour mixture.
Using melon baller or cookie scoop, place dough (about 2 tablespoons or 1/8 cup for each cookie) onto prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. (Make the cookies as symmetrical as possible.)
Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges are just slightly golden. Let cookies rest on baking sheets for 20 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Yields 36 cookies.
To make dip: Line trays or tabletop with sheets of waxed paper. Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl that tapers at bottom (so chocolate will remain as deep as possible while dipping). Microwave on 50 percent power for 2 minutes, then stir with rubber spatula. Microwave for another 30 seconds, then stir thoroughly. Let chocolate cool for about 5 minutes.
Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate once, creating clean line across middle of cookie. Rotate cookie around with your hand to allow excess chocolate to drip off, then place cookie on wax paper. Repeat with remaining cookies and chocolate.
Allow cookies to cool and harden for several hours before disturbing.
Note: For a lemon version of this Soft Ricotta Cookies Recipe, substitute the same amounts of lemon zest and juice for the orange zest and juice. For a glaze, mix together 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and the zest of 1 lemon. Spread glaze on cookies using small offset spatula. (It’s difficult to dip these like the orange version because the glaze will not harden like the bittersweet chocolate.)
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