Italian breakfast cookies

Is it because I share a birthday with my spirit monster, Cookie, that I’m such a cookie monster myself? Or is it simply the idea of eating cookies for breakfast that’s so appealing?

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Quite frankly, cookies don’t need a special time slot in my world. I happily dispense them as needed to brighten the day, provide a bit of sweetness, fill a gap between meals–or even to act as a meal when the need arises!

So, allow me to introduce to you, the sweet, delicious and lovable little treat–Italian breakfast cookies. They’re crispy outside, soft within, and have all the delicious flavors of an Italian bakery–or this kat’s kitchen!

ITALIAN BREAKFAST COOKIES

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus more on the side for rolling)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup corn oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Adjust racks to lower and upper thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat together egg and sugar till light. Add milk, oil, lemon zest, juice and extracts; beat well. Add dry ingredients gradually to wet, stirring with a wooden spoon. The dough will be a bit sticky.

I used my trusty Zeroll Universal EZ Disher scoop (#60, pink) to portion the dough. You can roll it into balls or logs–I did both. Then roll in granulated sugar and bake for a total of 12 minutes. Swap the baking sheets at the 6-minute mark (top to bottom/front to back), then bake for 6 minutes more.

Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for a few minutes to make it easier to move them from sheet to rack to cool. Makes enough cookies to fill a whole rack–lost count, busy eating! AHM GNAM GNAM GNAM!

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lemon ricotta cookies ONE

There’s been a serious lack of sunshine ’round here lately, so I’ve been baking my own. First, it was lemon bars–always a favorite. Then I wanted to make ricotta cookies. My mom’s been making ’em for years. But I wanted to do a lemon twist on the classic. So, I’ll show you two ways to make these light-as-air, delicious little pillows of cookies–one lemony, one almond-y. Yes, it’s a word. Ask any almond lover.

lemon ricotta cookies Celebrate with Hope

Care to celebrate with Hope? Here we go.

LEMON RICOTTA COOKIES
adapted from recipes from generations of talented Italian ladies, including my mom

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Combine and set aside.

1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla*
1 teaspoon almond extract*
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon, if you like)*

*To make an almond version, double the vanilla and almond extracts (so, 2 teaspoons of each) and omit lemon juice.

Adjust racks to lower and upper thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together softened butter and sugar till fluffy. Add egg, ricotta, vanilla, almond extract and lemon juice*. Gradually add dry ingredients. Dough will be very soft. I used my trusty Zeroll 60 pink scoop, but you can use a teaspoon if you don’t have one. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets.

I like to do the halftime switch trick: turn the cookie sheets front to back and switch racks halfway through. Bake for 14-15 minutes total–so, try 7 minutes, then switch racks for another 7–at 350 degrees F; bottoms of cookies will be golden.

Let the cookies cool, then choose your glaze–lemon or almond–and dip the top of each cookie.

Lemon glaze
Whisk together:
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of one lemon
¾ cup powdered sugar

Almond glaze
Whisk together:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 heaping teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons milk

I hope sharing two recipe variations in one makes up for some lost time here. Know that my heart is never far from the kitchen. I’ve missed posting here and I’ll be back soon!