These soft, pillowy ricotta cookies are like eating tiny cakes. Ricotta cookies are often flavored with lemon, but this version adds almond extract to the cookies and frosting instead.
The flavor of ricotta cookies is similar to sugar cookies, but the cookies have a much softer, thicker texture. Ricotta cookies are definitely enhanced by frosting, icing or glaze. Use the almond-flavored icing recipe below, or your favorite frosting recipe for cookies.
- For the Dough:
- 2 sticks butter (1 cup unsalted, softened)
- 1 3/4 cups sugar (granulated)
- 1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese (15 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 eggs
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (kosher)
- For the Icing:
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (or confectioners)
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon milk (plus more to reach desired consistency)
- Optional: food coloring (red)
To Make the Cookies:
- Using an electric mixer, cream butter, and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add ricotta, vanilla and almond extract, and beat until combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well in-between each one. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula as needed.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the batter and beat just until a dough forms.
- Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 4 days.
- After chilling dough, preheat oven to 350 F.
- Drop tablespoons of chilled dough (at least 2 inches apart) on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment. Use your hands to roll the dough into balls.
- Bake 13 to 16 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom and no longer doughy.
- Cool on baking racks.
- When the cookies are cool, spread your favorite icing on top.
To Make the Sugar Icing:
- Whisk powdered sugar or whirl in food processor to ensure there are no lumps.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the confectioners sugar (no lumps!), almond extract, and salt.
- Add a tablespoon of milk and mix well.
- Continue to add milk until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
If desired, add a small drop of red food coloring to make pink icing. Top the iced cookie with sprinkles.
Baker's Note on Ricotta:
Fresh ricotta is a mild cheese with a slightly sweet, milky flavor. Hi-quality ricotta has a very smooth, creamy texture. Traditionally, cheese makers made fresh ricotta by heating whey (the liquid that remains after curds form during the cheesemaking process) until it thickened into soft, fluffy curds. Some cheesemakers still make ricotta from whey and some make it from whole milk.