For Beautiful Ruins, I decided to contact my wonderful sister-in-law Amy for a recipe I’ve been meaning to take a stab at. Amy makes the most delectable ricotta cookies at Christmastime and since a lot of Beautiful Ruins takes place in Italy, I thought now would be the perfect time to try my hand at these airy dreams.
So here it goes, what follows is how I made them and it yielded almost 3 dozen good sized cookies. You can double the recipe if you need:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
7.5 oz (1/2 12 oz jar) whole milk ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder (yes, that says Tbsp!)
1/2 tsp salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped (my addition!)
whole milk (you’ll use far less than a pint, just a few splashes)
confectioner’s sugar (you shouldn’t need more than 1/4-1/2 cup)
Note: You should start stingy with the icing, it’s easy to make and you don’t need too too much of it. Of course, you’re going to end up leaving some behind on the parchment so take that into consideration too.
Preheat 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat sugar and butter on low until well combined. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
Reduce speed to medium and beat in ricotta, vanilla, scraped vanilla bean and eggs.
Reduce speed to low and add baking powder, flour, salt.
Bake @350 for about 15 min. This will depend on your oven. I took mine out at about 12 min and they were perfect. I also rotated my sheets at the 6 minute mark.
You can see the bottom edge start to get light brown. When you take cookies off the sheet the bottom of them should be faint light brown.
Set cookies aside to cool.
While cooling, put about 1/4-1/2 cup powdered sugar in a bowl. Add just a splash of whole milk and whisk briskly to incorporate. You can use beaters, a whisk, or even just a fork (that’s what I use). Gradually add more of either ingredient until you’ve got a nice icing consistency, not too runny! Be sure that it’s smooth, no powdered sugar pockets.
I put my cookies on my used parchment paper butt-to-butt (that’s not a pretty image, but you know what I mean). I’m so stingy with parchment since it’s pricey, so I was able to dirty only one piece by putting them so close together. It also made it easier to distribute the icing. Spoon icing over cooled cookies and leave aside to set.
Once set, peel the cookies off your parchment and dispose of the bits of frosting left behind . . . if you choose to dispose of the frosting by putting it in your belly, I won’t judge.
Note from Amy: Don’t store these too tightly or in a warm place as they can get a little soggy if the icing softens. Leave them out overnight.
Note from Kate: I followed Amy’s note and they turned out amazing. I do recommend that you close the tupperware tightly if you’re going to transport, otherwise, you may hit your brakes too hard and have the tupperware turn over and almost lose the cookies when they try to spring free from your not secure tupperware. Just saying. It could happen.
These were enjoyed by all! So much so that for the second month in a row, a steeper couldn’t wait to dive in and partook before we even started! Maureen said, “Looks great, can’t wait!”
For tea I served a very lovely Lime Blossom blend, simply because it looked good and I thought it would pair nicely with the ricotta cookies. I was right. It was delicious. I’ve had a couple of the Octavia Teas and they’re all lovely. Plus they come in the cutest tins. Win/win!