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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)

2 eggs

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

  ***Cottage cheese is NOT an appropriate substitute for ricotta!

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!

If you love limoncello and ricotta as much as I do, check out some of my other posts: Make your own Limoncello, Limoncello Cheesecake, Casa Berti Olive Oil Limoncello Cake, Ricotta fatta in casa, Tortelloni di Ricotta.

Read more about the mercato here.

Buon appetito, Cristina