Continuing on the lemon anise theme…
I’m usually not a fan of cake-like cookies. I want cookies that are flat and crispy, usually. These are like the extreme opposite. But I like them. Why?
I like them simply because it’s easy to sell me on an idea of how something is, and I will like it for having that quality.
These are like soft little pillows. The first few hours after making them, they are especially light and fluffy. Then they are not as light, but still like little pillows.
I also like them because they have anise and lemon flavors! I’ve not had these before, but they are now a new favorite. I hope you enjoy.
I halved the original, because it makes about six dozen. Three dozen is just enough, although six dozen is convenient if you are going to be giving some away for the holidays.
Lemon Anise Ricotta Cookies (adapted very slightly from Grandma Dorie’s Italian Ricotta Cookies, from Melissa Clark at NYT Cooking)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/8 teaspoon sea salt
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon anise seeds, ground finely in coffee grinder or food processor (optional)
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons ricotta cheese
2 cups confectioners sugar
juice of half a large lemon
1 Tablespoon anise or licorice liqueur, such as Sambuca, or Pernod
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt, into a bowl. Stir with a whisk. Add the zest and finely ground anise seeds and stir with a whisk again. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a hand held mixer with beaters, until fluffy and light. Add ricotta cheese and blend well until incorporated.
Mix again with beaters. Add the egg. Mix until well incorporated.
Add the flour in three parts, mixing on low between additions, being careful not to overmix.
Place a greased plastic wrap over the dough, covering and pressing lightly over entire surface. Set in fridge for at least 2 hours to up to one week.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F., and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
With a tablespoon ice cream scoop, measure exactly one tablespoon per cookie, lining up about 12 per sheet, with about 2-inches between each cookie. Place dough back in the fridge to keep cold. Bake one sheet at a time on center rack for about 13-15 minutes. Mine took about 13 minutes, but ovens vary. I did not want mine to be too browned. Mine were just very slightly browned on the bottoms and edges, but the color of the tops were off-white.
Remove from oven and let rest on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes. Transfer directly to wire rack and let cool completely before frosting or serving.
While cooling, mix together icing ingredients with a whisk until smooth. Add more lemon or liqueur if too dry. I think it’s a preference thing, where you might like it more thin and pourable. Mine was pretty thick, but after topping each cookie with roughly a half-teaspoon of icing, it did drip down the sides and look fairly thin after an hour or so with the cookies undisturbed. Plus the icing hardened somewhat. Which I kind of liked!
If you prefer, you can sprinkle these with Christmas type toppings, like red and green sprinkles, dragées, anise seeds, etc.. Or leave them plain. Hope you enjoy these.