Lemon Love

I recently took a trip to visit some friends who I haven’t seen in quite some time.  I often joke about my “Gypsy Feet,” a benefit of which is that I have made friends around the world.  It’s hard not being able to see them with any frequency, so I’m always grateful for the opportunity to reconnect and for the technology that helps us stay in touch in between visits.

Last weekend’s trip ended in an email exchange that left me laughing out loud and ready to bake.  My friend T’s daughter, who infamously once corrected a statement about her sweet tooth by noting that she has a mouth full of them, has turned into quite a baker.  She generously gave her mother permission to share her recipes with me.  Cinnamon babka: “It resembles a massive cinnamon bun with golden raisins.” is a future experiment.  (Did you catch that?  MASSIVE CINNAMON BUN!) Yesterday though, was all about the lemon, specifically, Giada De Laurentiis’s lemon ricotta cookies with lemon glaze.  As you know, I’ve been on quite a lemon kick lately.  A few weeks ago I made lemon bars, which J doubted, but then ended up loving.  Last night he confessed that he’d doubted these cookies too, which he also ended up loving.  It turns out, somewhere along the line, he decided that he didn’t really like lemon desserts or icing on his cookies.  Though I’m not sure I’ve ever met a lemon dessert that I didn’t like, I can understand his aversion to icing on cookies.  I’ve had a lot of dry, bland, or floury cookies that tried to hide under cloyingly sweet icing.  In fact, I’d actually tried making ginettes before, both lemon and vanilla, with little success.  The internet has all kinds of suggestions for this problem including additional eggs or the addition of vegetable shortening, but Giada seems to have found the best solution–ricotta cheese.  I remember falling in love with Martha Stewart’s orange-ricotta pancakes years ago, so I was confident that this, too, would be a success.

Behold!

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I began by assembling my ingredients.  T had mentioned that they double the zest the recipe calls for, which, if I make these with ricotta cheese again, I will also.  I had the thought that I might be able to make these healthy healthier by substituting Greek yogurt for the ricotta cheese.  It does nothing to absolve us of the butter, sugar, or flour, but at least they’ll be probiotic and full of vitamin c and protein. (Maybe that will help me  fill up faster and thus eat fewer of them?)

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I followed the directions, scooping 2 tbsp of dough for each cookie.  They didn’t spread or shrink really, so the finished product looked nearly identical to the raw dough.  I think they’re a bit too big, and will likely only use 1 tbsp scoops next time.  (That will make a lot of cookies!  I got 37 out of this batch.)

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The glaze was easy to make.  Hooray for my Kitchen Aid mixer!

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And the finished cookies dried as promised.

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You’ll notice there are only 11 here.  I baked 12, but had to taste one before I even managed to take the picture!  To save me from myself…no, J, I did NOT put the cork on the fork.

I used my flash-freezing trick.  I scooped out the rest of the dough on parchment paper and placed it on a cookie sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Unlike chocolate-chip cookies, which freeze to a solid block, these guys stayed soft.  They were a little more finicky to wrap in plastic and store in the freezer bag, but not terrible.  We’ll see if they bake up as nicely after being frozen.  The leftover glaze is in the fridge, where I think it will be fine.  My plan is just to bring it to room temperature before using.

When I announced that in addition to attending a 2-hour yoga workshop, my plan for the weekend included baking these cookies, J asked about the occasion.  A new recipe is occasion enough for me!  A now, speaking of pancakes…I’m off to brunch.  Happy eating!

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