Cake-like cookies baked with lemon and ricotta cheese will brighten up your day. The lemon flavor in the cookies alone is subtle, but the lemon glaze takes them to next-level lemon deliciousness.
Lemon cookies remind me of my grandma. A lemon fanatic if ever there was one, my memories of walking into her house always involve something lemon. Lemon meringue pie, lemon bars, lemon cake…all things lemon!
I never much shared her excitement. Hand me the chocolate with the caramel inside! Or maybe the chocolate-covered orange jellies my grandpa liked. Or even the frosted oatmeal cookies he always brought home from Aldi.
But lemon? Eh, I could take it or leave it.
I’ve changed my ways. Lemon smells oh, so good, and I like the bright taste it adds to desserts. In fact, I’d rank a lemon cookie in one of my top five cookie flavors. Grandma would be proud. I think she would have liked these cookies.
The cookies alone have a subtle lemon flavor, but the lemon glaze amps them up to a cookie solidly in the lemon desserts category. They are soft and cake-like and I can’t help but eat more than one every time I pop open the container.
Lemon ricotta cookies are my contribution to The Sweetest Season virtual bake sale some blogger friends and I are participating in this week. We’ve each donated to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, and if you have it in your heart and budget, you can donate too.
We’ll be raising money throughout the entire month of December. Here are a few facts that help illustrate why this cause is important to me:
- Combined, all 12 major groups of pediatric cancers received less than 4% of The National Cancer Institute’s $4.6 billion federal budget.
- 13,500 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year.
- 40,000 U.S. children are actively battling cancer right now.
- Only four of the 12 most common types of childhood cancers have average survival rates over 80%.
Since 2008, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has granted nearly $15 million to pediatric cancer research in the form of research grants to leading pediatric cancer centers across the country. These grants have helped researchers develop 37 different treatments available to kids battling cancer right now.
We held with a bake sale, but you can do anything to help fund pediatric cancer research. Sponsor a penny drive or sports tournament or 5K race or whatever else you can think up to raise money.
This time of year, perhaps you could organize a paper and ribbon bar and wrap presents for holiday shoppers. Do what you know, and do what you love. For me, that’s baking cookies. And occasionally, a pie.
If you have the means to do so, please consider supporting Cookies for Kids’ Cancer this holiday season. You’ll join the ranks of other “Good Cookies” when you do. Be sure to eat some other good cookies (hint: lemon ricotta) as well. Enjoy!
Soft Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Yield approximately 24 cookies
For the Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
For the Glaze
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
optional: additional lemon zest, for garnish
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar, butter, vanilla, and lemon zest together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Next beat in the ricotta and egg until combined.
- Reduce speed to low, slowly add the flour mixture, and beat until just combined.
- Form about two teaspoons of dough into a ball and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat until you have no more cookie dough. If the dough gets soft, simply put in in the refrigerator for a few minutes until it firms up and is easy to work with again.
- Before putting the baking sheet in the oven, use the palm of your hand to gently flatten the cookie dough balls into a disk. Again, if the dough starts to stick to your hand, pop the cookie sheet into the refrigerator for a few minutes so the dough can firm up.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until the cookies are set and the bottoms are just browned.
- When the cookies are cool, drizzle with a lemon glaze. Whisk the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar together until the glaze is a thick but workable consistency. You may find you want to add a little more or less juice or confectioners' sugar to get a consistency you are comfortable with.
- Pour the glaze into a baggie, snip off a corner, and use to drizzle the glaze over the cookies. You could also dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze for a different look.
- If desired, sprinkle immediately with lemon zest. Allow the cookies to stand for about 30 minutes for the glaze to set.
These cookies freeze well once baked. If you go that route, adding the glaze to the cookies after they are frozen and defrosted is recommended. Simply let them come to room temperature, and then drizzle with the lemon glaze.