Last week I had a bancarella at the Italian summer outdoor market. I like to bring dolci for friends who come to visit, or anyone who stops by to chat. Buy a card… get a cookie. It was an unusually hot day, and my espresso cookies would melt and make a mess all over the place, so I made refreshing, sweet and tangy limoncello ricotta cookies. Limoncello and ricotta are 2 of my favourite ingredients.
When I was growing up, our Abruzzesi neighbours often made these soft cakey cookies-minus the limoncello. They used Anice (ah·Nee·cheh), a liqueur similar to Sambuca, and topped them with multi-coloured sprinkles. The ricotta makes them soft, moist and chewy. If fresh is not available***, make your own ricotta!
Limoncello Ricotta Cookies:
350g flour (2½ cups)
5 g salt (1 tsp)
8g Pane degli Angeli (½ bustina/envelope, 2 teaspoons) *
100 g olive oil (½ cup) **
400 g sugar (2 cups)
450 g fresh ricotta (1 lb)
30g limoncello (30 ml, 2 tablespoons)
15 g freshly squeezed lemon juice (15 ml, 1 tablespoon)
Grated peel of 1 lemon
Glaze: same as for Casa Berti Olive Oil Limoncello Cake
200 g (1½ cups) powdered sugar/icing sugar
30g limoncello (30ml, 2 tablespoons)
15g freshly squeezed lemon juice (15 ml, 1 tablespoon)
Grated peel of 1 organic lemon
Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F)
Mix the 3 dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mix sugar and grated lemon peel together with the back of a spoon until the sugar becomes fragrant. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Add oil, then ricotta and limoncello. Stir in dry ingredients.
The dough is quite sticky. Use 2 tablespoons or a small cookie scoop to measure the dough onto a cookie sheet. The dough may be easier to work with if it is left in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes, being careful not to burn the edges. Let cool.
To make glaze, mix the all ingredients except lemon peel in a small bowl until smooth. If it is too thick and sticky, add more limoncello or lemon juice. Add lemon peel last. Use a teaspoon to spread glaze onto each cookie. Leave glaze to harden and set for 1-2 hours.
Makes 40-60 cookies, depending on the size. Store in a covered container.
* If Pane degli Angeli is not available, substitute 2 tsp baking powder and a tiny splash of vanilla extract
**if you prefer to use 125g unsalted butter (½ cup), mix the sugar and butter together first with a mixer, then add eggs one at a time, followed by the other ingredients
Friends and customers often tell me I should be selling the cookies. I am not sure how to take that. Are they trying to tell me my baking is more appealing than my artwork? Hmmmm, I had better not overthink this one!
Read more about the mercato here.
Buon appetito, Cristina