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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.

Coici Bertha, as we called her (Coici 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

  • olivia wrote:

    Love this recipe ! I found the orange flavour to actually be quite light. I mixed the zest and the sugar together with my fingers (this brings out all the oils) first and then added it to the butter. I also used blood orange zest in the icing and it made a really beautiful colour. These took closer to 16-18 minutes to cook. I found 20 actually got too dark (for my oven). So I might suggest others check theirs a little earlier in case their oven runs hot like mine. Thanks!!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Olivia – great suggestions!

  • Casey wrote:

    Just a small note, Aunt in Polish is spelled CIOCI. You swapped the order of the I and O. For your non-Polish readers, it’s pronounced Cho-Chi / Chu-Chi sounding / rhyming with “touchy” (but with more of an O sound).

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Casey!

  • Jennifer S. wrote:

    I made this with part skim ricotta and added mini chocolate chips. Excellent!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jennifer!

  • Emily wrote:

    Can you freeze these?

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes – but we would suggest that you wait to frost the cookies until after you’ve thawed them.

  • Allysha A. wrote:

    I’ve been making these cookies for the past two years, during the holiday season. It will be a recipe I continue to make for many years to come. I serve them for a Christmas cookie tray and for gifting to some. EVERYONE raves about these cookies! I love that this recipe is an easy one. The only thing I change is the citrus. I replace it with almond. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Almond sounds delicious Allysha! So glad the recipe is a hit!

  • Karen wrote:

    This has been in my Christmas cookie repertoire for several years now!
    Can I make the dough and refrigerate for a couple of days before baking?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Karen – We’ve never tried that…I’d worry that the baking powder won’t interact and rise after a few days in the fridge (but not sure – if you try it, please let us know how it works out!). As an alternative, you could bake the cookies and freeze them unfrosted. Then thaw and frost before serving.

  • Kelly Bain wrote:

    A favorite at my office. Thx for sharing

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Kelly! Happy holidays!

  • Terry wrote:

    Since finding this recipe, it has become a staple for the holidays. The recipe is easy and produces consistently good results; and, when I serve these cookies, there are always requests for the recipe. These cookies are seriously good and the only way I have found to make them even better is by using homemade ricotta – while not necessary, it does make for an even more tender cookie.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Terry! So glad you are enjoying the cookies!

  • Michelle Carlson wrote:

    These are grsat cookies, I just made them tonight. I have a question though. Are they supposed to taste a little “floury” or did I not mix them well enough? I got nervous about over mixing and hope I didn’t ruin them. The consistency looks great but they taste a bit bland and not too sweet…and the glaze adds a nice sweetness. Did I mess them up?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Michelle – You are correct in noticing that these aren’t super-sweet cookies, but the glaze is sweeter and should hopefully balance out the flavors. I’m not sure I would describe the taste as floury but you may have just been expecting a sweeter cookie batter overall. I suppose you could try bumping up the sugar a bit in the batter but without testing that out, it may impact the texture. Hope that helps!

  • Mechele wrote:

    Thank goodness for the glaze; because these are some of the most boring cookies I’ve ever made.

    • Martha wrote:

      Merry Christmas Mechele!

  • Maddy wrote:

    Great recipe, turned out well. I did add flori di siclia for an added citrus note. Delicious

    • Martha wrote:

      Great idea Maddy! The flori di sicilia is a perfect (and probably even more authentically Italian) choice! I’m going to borrow your idea the next time we bake these cookies! 🙂

  • Elaine wrote:

    The best recipes!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Elaine!

  • Ann Cardello wrote:

    I made the orange ricotta cookies but cookies were flat! Not puffed up!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Ann – When cookies flatten it can sometimes be caused by baking powder (or other leavening) not being fresh, or an oven that is hotter which will cause the dough to spread. Either way, we’re sorry you didn’t seen the same results.

  • Necia Kaffenberger wrote:

    Hi! Can these be frozen? I am baking while I still have time to bake before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Love all your recipes. Thanks.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Necia! Yes – I’d suggest baking and freezing the cookies but waiting to add the glaze until you thaw and are ready to serve.

  • Renie wrote:

    Delishious

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you!

  • Kathy Garrison wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. The cookies came out great. They look like your picture and they are very tasty. I did add some orange extract to both the cookie and the icing. Don’t know if it helps but I don’t think it hurt. Again, thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Kathy! So glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  • Wendy Campbell wrote:

    I am making these cookies for the first time, do they need to have a glaze on them? also do they freeze well?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Wendy – The glaze adds extra sweetness but you can leave it off if you’d like. They do freeze well – just be sure to wrap them as air-tight as possible. Enjoy!

      • stephanie wrote:

        That “wrap them as air-tight as possible” thing? First freeze the cookies on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, put them in a ziplock bag. Squeeze out as much of the air as possible without crushing the cookies but leave just enough to provide some cushion when you use your vacuum sealer to seal them up. The internal ziplock bag will keep them from being crushed and they will be seriously air-tight. I am about to make these cookies and am pretty darn excited about them!!!

        • Martha wrote:

          Great idea Stephanie! (Especially if you have a vacuum sealer!) Thanks for the suggestion!

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