Is there any relationship between being (a) a nutrition student and (b) a health nut and (c) someone who is in love with baking?
Yes, yes, and yes.
I used to go over and over with this conundrum in my head. How could I call myself a health nut if I was so in love with baking cookies, pies, and squares? When I had this conversation with a friend, she simply stated: “Easy. Having one cookie won’t make or break a healthy diet. Having ten just might.” Moderation. Balance. Moderation.
And ever since, I have indulged my passion for baking desserts while continually absorbing all the latest information on nutrition that I could possibly find. There is no great divide between the two.
I offered to bake cookies for Nicole’s cookout this afternoon, and spent a good hour or so looking through recipes and dessert ideas. The only critera was that I wanted it to taste amazing, be free of nuts and nut products, and have most of the ingredients on hand. I landed on Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze, a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis. Some people find her annoying, but I happen to love her cooking style and show. And her recipes.
The dry ingredients are combined separately from the wet ingredients. And the sugar and butter are blended together, until soft, pillowy, fluffy.
The point at which you add the whole milk ricotta, lemon peel and lemon juice is when your house becomes intoxicated with the fresh smell of lemon.
I decided to test-bake two batches. The first using cooking spray, the second using parchment paper.
Let me spare you from having to waste a batch of cookies: Choose parchment paper.
They come out soft and fluffy. The ‘cooking spray batch’ came out flat. As. A. Pancake.
Once the cookies rested for a good 20 minutes on the cookie sheet, I made the glaze and spooned it on top of the puffy cookies.
Feel free to go all out and show people that these are lemon infused cookies! They slightly resemble sugar cookies, until you take that first bite. Then it’s alllll about the lemon.
I have a slight habit of making cookies larger then they are intended in the recipe. But these came surprisingly close and made 40 vs. the 44 that the recipe says it will make. Have fun baking these babies up while enjoying the smells of fresh lemon throughout your entire house. 😀
Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze
recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick unslated butter, softened
2 c. sugar
1 (15-oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 T. lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electri mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add 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 T. 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.
Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-tsp onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.