I first tried these cookies at my boyfriend’s Aunt’s house. When we gather there, we eat like the Italians we are. At least six courses, eating for hours, and people. People everywhere. But back to these cookies. I thought these cookies were amazing. So amazing, in fact, that after eating for literally an entire afternoon, I still couldn’t help shoving more cookies into my face. They aren’t all beautiful, but they’re AMAZING. Fluffy and chewy and light and sweet and lovely and “I know I already had seven but please can I have some more?” cookies. And I don’t know if you’d have guessed (because I certainly didn’t) but these cookies have a strange and secret ingredient! Got any guesses? Well, I’ll tell you.

It’s ricotta cheese! The classic lasagna staple in a cookie? I know, it’s weird, but don’t let it scare you. There’s no cheesy aftertaste in these cookies! Ricotta is apparently a classic choice in lots of Italian pastries, including cake! I think it’s what we can attribute the truly amazing texture to.

Hey look, I didn’t forget to cream the butter and sugar this time! Look at the fluffy texture, it’s an essential step in cookie making. Make sure your butter is softened before creaming and for best results, let your butter soften on the counter instead of in the microwave (though there’s nothing wrong with a quick blast from the microwave, we don’t always have time on our hands for such patience).

Your dough will look a little strange after you add the ricotta, but don’t worry. Just blend all your wet ingredients as instructed. Oh, and use a big bowl. Probably the biggest one you have.

You’re gonna need at least 4 cups of flour to make the dough manageable. I had to use just a touch more than this, maybe 1/4 cup extra. Just add in small amounts as you need it.

The dough will be sticky, but as long as you can work it into dough balls, you’re good. Popping it in the fridge for a while helps.

My dough balls were a little over a teaspoon in size and I found that baking them for between 10-11 minutes was best. These cookies tend to undercook and, though we all like doughy cookies, these were a little too doughy. Err on the side of leaving them in until they’re golden brown on the top and sides too. Also, if the bottoms aren’t too brown, leave them on the hot pan for a while and that will help the centers cook all the way.

Note: If you do make your cookies this size, you’re going to wind up with nearly 100 cookies! So make them bigger if you like, but don’t forget to increase the cooking time.

As an aside, this was the first time I ever used parchment paper and it is incredible. Seriously, go get some. Right now. Or while you’re shopping for cookie ingredients. I never want to bake without it again, the cookies just slide right off and don’t leave the pan with grease marks. Amazing stuff.

Some might find that these cookies aren’t quite sweet enough, so you have the option to whip up a quick glaze. I have no doubts the almond would be wonderful, but my mom prefers vanilla, so I substituted vanilla extract. When making the glaze, keep it at a liquidy consistency as opposed to a thick icing) and spoon it over the warm cookies. The cookies will soak it right up and lend some sweetness. Then you can add a little fanciness with sprinkles if you like. Nonpareils are my favorite.

These cookies were wonderful and tasted even better the next day! I recommend giving them a shot, they were easy and certainly a hit with my Italian family, your family might love them too.

Want to make these cookies? I think you should.

Here, have the recipe I was given from Allrecipes:

  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt*
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, ricotta cheese, and vanilla extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda; blend into the creamed mixture, mixing in additional flour as necessary to form a workable dough. Roll dough into teaspoon-sized balls, and arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned.

For glaze:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat milk, confectioners’ sugar, and almond extract until smooth. Spoon over warm cookies, and sprinkle with colored candy sprinkles

*I did not put any salt in these cookies and didn’t even notice until afterwards. The recipe didn’t call for it, but in hindsight that’s a little suspicious. Salt brings out flavors, that’s why you put it in everything! So, though I cannot personally attest to the addition of salt in this recipe, I think I’ll still recommend it. It’s up to you and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting!

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