Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oops, I did it again.....

Bought more Meyer lemons, that is.  Saw them again in Whole Paycheck Foods and couldn't resist.  The devil made me do it!

Now what?  They don't last long.  Not like ordinary run-of-the-mill lemons.  You can keep these guys for five days or so, but then they start to rot and get soggy.  No, no, no!  These are not to be wasted.

I unearthed a recipe for Meyer Lemon Ricotta Cookies.  It sounded interesting, especially since I happened to have a container of whole milk ricotta in my fridge that was begging to be used before the expiration date (I have no idea why I bought it in the first place).  Alrighty then.

But first, I need to digress (oh no, here she goes again.  Shut up, Liz and just get to the recipe).  Uh-uh.  You need to hear this.

If you've been reading this blog, or if you know me personally, you're aware that I recently traveled to Cambodia.  I saw and experienced a lot (land mine victims, orphaned children due to AIDS, women rescued from brothels, extreme poverty, etc.) and came back determined to do something to help.

That "something" means raising money to send promising young Cambodian adults to college.  I think it's the best way to effect positive change.  More about this later.

There are amazing people in my life.  One of them is Mark Cohen, who graciously offered to help me with my mission.  He is wildly creative, a bit off-the-wall, very savvy and he gets it.  He has an fabulous wife and two of the most engaging kids I know.  Henry and I adore them.  They live on our street.  Here's the link to Mark's company:   He  is graciously donating his time and resources to create the tools I need to raise money for this endeavor.  I am humbled by this.

Okay, so I do have a point here.

Mark won't let me pay him, but he is willing to accept desserts.  He doesn't know what he's in for.  Hello, what a great excuse to bake and get the results the hell out of my house before I eat them.  Get ready for the onslaught of recipes that will soon be showing up on this blog!

For now though, here's the recipe for the Meyer lemon cookies.  They are almost cake-like in texture, tender to the bite and not overly sweet.  You can't taste the ricotta, but it gives these treats a richness and depth of taste that makes it impossible to eat just one.  Believe me.


For the cookies:
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt (I used Kosher)
2 large eggs
16-oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
3 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
2 1/2 cups unbleached AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the glaze:
3 cups confectioner's sugar
3-4 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice

Preheat oven to 35-degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or use a Silpat).  In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.  Add sugar and salt; beat on high speed for 5 minutes, scraping down bowl several times until mixture is light and fluffy.  Add eggs, ricotta, lemon extract, zest and one tablespoon of the Meyer lemon juice (reserve rest for glaze).  Combine on medium speed until blended.  Add 1 cup of the flour and baking powder.  Beat on low speed until just combined.  Add remaining flour and repeat.  Do not overbeat.

Remove dough to a large piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap well and place in refrigerator overnight (or place in freezer until well-chilled but not frozen).  Use a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop (or use a spoon) to scoop out dough.  Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Chill or freeze until ready to bake.

Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges just start to brown and cookies are puffed in center and slightly golden.  Do not overbake.  Remove to a cooling rack.  When completely cool, drizzle with glaze and decorate with sanding sugar or dragees if desired.

To prepare the glaze, place confectioner's sugar and half of the Meyer lemon juice in a bowl.  Whisk well to combine, adding more lemon juice if needed.  Whisk until smooth and glaze just drips off the spoon, but still holds it's shape.  Spoon over cooled cookies.

Yield:  about 40 cookies.  Note:  these keep well unbaked in the freezer for 6 months.  They can go directly from freezer to oven but may require a slightly longer baking time.

Stay tuned.  I still have some Meyer lemons left!  Next up?  I'm thinking Meyer Lemon Budino......

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