These tender, cake-like cookies are topped with an irresistible glaze and look beautiful on a cookie platter. Perfect for special occasions from Christmas and Easter to baby showers. Simply change the color of the sprinkles!
Credit for this absolutely delightful cookie recipe goes to my friend, Kalyn, who bakes these gems every holiday season with her mom.
Kalyn says she often makes a double batch to share with coworkers (they disappear quickly) and that the cookies are always a crowd favorite at parties (and garner regular recipe requests!).
Knowing I appreciate a tried-and-true recipe that has passed the test of countless discriminating palates, Kalyn kindly shared the recipe with me.
After my mom and aunt joined me for a baking day of our own soon after, it became apparent that these cookies would be added to the ranks of top rated cookies in our family, too.
Why ricotta in a cookie, you may wonder?
Ricotta is a smooth cheese that’s creamy yet thick. It has a mild taste and a low salt content that makes it well suited for use in sweet or savory dishes alike. Rather than tasting cheesy, the ricotta enhances the texture and balances the sweetness in these cookies.
The ricotta also helps retain the moisture in these cookies. You may even notice that the cookies are even better and moister the second day.
I like to add a small amount of lemon juice to the simple glaze; it adds a subtle bright note and balances the sweetness of the confectioner’s sugar. To play up the lemon flavor, you may add the zest of half a lemon to the batter.
You could also experiment with a small amount of almond or orange extract in the glaze. To avoid overwhelming a recipe when using these extracts, I start with an amount equal to half of the amount of vanilla called for. You can always add more, but once it’s in there…
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 1 cup (192g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups (254g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (120g) confectioner’s sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (could use up to ½ tablespoon of lemon juice)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: Sprinkles (I use the crystal kind)
- Cream the butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, ricotta cheese, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Half at a time, blend into the butter mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or up to 5 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the chilled dough out, a rounded tablespoon at a time, and shape into balls. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared sheet.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cookies should look golden brown on bottom but pale on top. Cool on wire racks.
- Once the cookies are cool, combine the confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla to form a thick glaze. Start with the lesser amount of milk and add to make a thin but spreadable icing. Spread over the cookies. Alternatively, you can make the glaze a touch runnier and dip the top of the cookies into it, allowing the excess to drip off. Top with sprinkles, if desired, while the glaze is still wet. (Tip: This step can be messy, so you may wish to put foil or parchment paper underneath.)
Cookies may seem a touch dry the first day but are perfectly moist the next day.
Storage: Keep the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days. The cookies may be frozen for longer storage.
Hi Ann! Would you freeze these glazed or unglazed?
Hi Missy! I’ve done it both ways with good success. If you freeze after glazing, just make sure to let the glaze dry and then separate the layers with parchment or wax paper. Enjoy!
Hi Ann- Just wanted you to know the recipe for Italian ricotta cookies seems to be missing! The post shows the photos and comments, but when you hit jump to recipe or scroll to the bottom, you find a lovely pic of the cookies, but no recipe. Love your posts, keep up the GREAT work!
Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention, Chrissy. It seems to have been a temporary glitch, because the recipe is there now. If for some reason you don’t see if or have trouble again, please let me know. I grateful when someone alerts me to a problem…and also so glad you enjoy the posts! ❤️