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Orange Ricotta Cookies are a classic Italian cookie that is moist and cake-like with a distinctive orange flavor.

Orange Ricotta Cookies - A Family Feast

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Classic Italian foods always seem to make an appearance on our family table at the holidays.  For my husband Jack and his big Italian family – of course, that makes sense!  But for me – coming from a large Polish family – in between the pierogi and the stuffed cabbage that was always served at our Christmas meals, we also had a few Italian foods at the table thanks to my mother’s sister, Bertha.

Cioci Bertha, as we called her (Cioci is “aunt” in Polish), was married to my Uncle Pete – an Italian – so the menu at her house was always a wonderful blend of the best of two culinary worlds!  She made a terrific lasagna (note to self…I must get her recipe!) but I also remember the cookie tray – an exotic (to me) combination of treats including anisette cookies with colorful sprinkles, pizzelle (some with, and some without powdered sugar) as well as some delicious soft, frosted ricotta cookies!

Among my favorites were the ricotta cookies – and a few weeks ago, Jack and I were sharing fond cookie memories from each of our childhoods!  I looked around and found some similar cookie recipes online, then worked to recreate these Orange Ricotta Cookies we’re sharing today!

Orange Ricotta Cookies - A Family Feast

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Ricotta cookies are often flavored with lemon, but we liked the more distinctive orange flavor in our version.  We used whole milk ricotta in our orange ricotta cookies – giving them a soft, cake-like consistency and the fresh orange zest gives the cookies wonderful flavor.  The icing also has orange zest as well as orange juice – so there is no mistaking the delicious citrus flavor!

These orange ricotta cookies are really quite easy to make – but a word of caution.  As you mix in the flour, just be sure not to over mix the cookie dough to ensure that your ricotta cookies are light and tender!

You may also enjoy these other Italian cookies:

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Orange Ricotta Cookies - A Family Feast

Orange Ricotta Cookies

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 dozen
  • Category: cookies
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces fresh whole-milk ricotta (drain any excess liquid, if necessary)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 large orange (about 2 teaspoons)

For the glaze

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the sugar and softened butter and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the first egg to the mixing bowl and mix well. Then add the second egg, and again mix well.
  5. Add the ricotta, vaniila and orange zest and mix to combine.
  6. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until all ingredients are just combined – being careful not to over mix.
  7. Using a small scoop or tablespoon drop the dough onto the baking sheets about two inches apart.
  8. Bake cookies for 20 to 22 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and light golden. (If you are baking both cookie sheets at the same time in the oven, rotate halfway through the baking time.) Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire racks before glazing.
  9. When ready to glaze, in a small, wide bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice and orange zest and mix into a smooth glaze. Add more powdered sugar if needed to make the glaze thick enough to coat the cookies when dipped.
  10. Holding the cookies with your fingers, dip the top of the cookies in the glaze and then immediately turn back over and place on a wire rack to dry.
  11. Allow cookies to dry for about 2 hours until completely set before storing.

Keywords: Orange Ricotta Cookies

 

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Orange Ricotta Cookies

Orange Ricotta Cookies

 

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    Comments

  • Jill wrote:

    These remind me of cookies my grandmother made. She also made a chocolate cookie with orange flavor (that I remember), how much cocoa would I add to this recipe because this seems the closest to what she made thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jill – We haven’t made this recipe with cocoa so I’m really just guessing! I’d suggest cutting back a bit on the flour (maybe to two cups) and then adding in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cocoa powder depending on how chocolatey you want the cookies. You might also need to adjust the sugar too if you are using unsweetened cocoa. Hope that helps – let us know how they come out for you!

  • Trish wrote:

    Hi – How long do these cookies stay fresh? My sisters and I are making cookies tomorrow for our own Christmas cookie trays so they probably won’t get eaten until Christmas Eve or so. Do you think that would be okay? They look scrumptious!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Trish – If you are making these cookies so far in advance, I’d probably recommend baking the cookies – but hold off frosting them. Then freeze them (well wrapped) until a day or so before you are ready to serve them – frosting them once they have thawed. They are good for a few days but will probably not be so good baked this far in advance!

  • Leigh wrote:

    I made the Orange Ricotta Cookies for part of a platter to take to my little sister’s Christmas play… simply amazing! They were gone so quickly! My mom also tried them (she’s my guinea pig since I’m allergic to so many things and couldn’t try them myself… not that I had to twist her arm haha) she said they were delish and that we’d be adding them to our yearly baking list. The recipe was easy to make, ingredients were easy to find… and thy baked up beautifully. Will be making more of these for Christmas day… maybe Easter too since they are so delish! Mom also noted that the cooler they were the more you could taste the Ricotta… not that that’s a bad thing. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Leigh – we’re so glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  • Teresa wrote:

    Just made these today, yum! However, I did have a lot of glaze leftover (I had 29 cookies, well 28 after quality control), so next time I’ll start with a half-recipe of the glaze. I added some almond extract in addition to the vanilla and the flavor is awesome.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the feedback Teresa!

  • Kimberly wrote:

    This recipe sounds lovely! I want to make a batch for this Christmas. Do you think it’ll still come out good if I make the batter a few days before serving them, and refrigerate? Thanks for sharing!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Kimberly – I’d recommend baking the cookies and storing them in the freezer for a few days if you need to make them ahead of time. Then glazing them the day you plan to serve them. I’m not sure that uncooked batter will bake up correctly if it’s left to sit in the refrigerator for a few days. Hope that helps! Enjoy the recipe!

  • anna wrote:

    If I triple this recipe, do I triple each ingredient?

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes Anna – I would follow it exactly and triple all ingredients!

  • monica wrote:

    I love this recipe and plan to try it. I was jotting down all the ingredients and noticed you have vanilla extract list but I don’t see where you would add it. I’m thinking maybe when you mix the sugar and the butter? Since I work with a large group of people, I’d like to make this for work. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      Oh my gosh – thank you Monica! We appreciate you letting us know about the error in the recipe! You would add the vanilla extract along with the ricotta and orange zest. Thanks again and I will update the recipe right now.

  • Gretchen wrote:

    My five year old son and I made these cookies today. They are delicious, and so easy! What a great find on Pinterest 🙂 I’m sure we will be making three regularly. Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe Gretchen! Thanks for visiting us today!

  • Toni wrote:

    Hi Tanya,
    Ricotta cookies are among my favorite also and are part of my wonderful childhood memories. Last Christmas I made chocolate/orange ricotta cookies (reminiscent of that segmented-orange, foil-wrapped candy that came in the blue box–sorry can’t remember the name.) Wonderful! Enjoy the cookies and your Christmas!

    • Martha wrote:

      I know exactly what you are talking about Toni – I love the combination of orange and chocolate together! (Will have to try that the next time we make ricotta cookies!) Merry Christmas and thanks for visiting today!

    • 2 collies wrote:

      Terry’s chocolate orange!!!

  • tanya wrote:

    I love ricotta cookies, I think they are so soft and so versatile! Beautiful Martha! Oh and it would be Christmas if my mom didn’t make stuffed cabbage too!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank so much Tanya! There are definitely those certain foods (and smells) that really make a family holiday!! Thanks for stopping by today!

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