Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You Asked. Spiced Whole Wheat Ricotta Cookies.

Hello friends. I baked you some cookies. And then - what do you know - you wanted the recipe. So here it is. Enjoy and try hard to not eat them all in one sitting. They are soft and cake-like and just barely sweet. The whole wheat flour gives them a texture that your inner hippie will adore. I like them and love them and am glad they are gone. I'm making them with my Mambo Italiano class on Sunday as well, so if that's why you are here - welcome and enjoy the rest of the site!

Love and cookies,

P.S. 11/10/13 - Ricki, Scott, Angela, Raela, Jeni, Kelly, Katie, and Jessi!* You are the best! I had a wonderful afternoon with you and I am sleeping with your notes under my pillow tonight. I hope that's not creepy. Here you are looking really cute and skilled in the kitchen. Thank you for making my family's dinner. My husband was v. pleased. Buonanotte. I hope to see you all again soon.

P.P.S. Everyone else: Kelly's new favorite cookie was made with L.C. Finn's Anise Extract and zest of one lemon.


Spiced Whole Wheat Ricotta Cookies
Adapted from this
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

3/4 cup sugar
Zest of half an orange or whole clementine/tangerine/blood orange
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg (see note)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cardamom extract, anise extract, almond extract, or vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour, spelt flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or all-purpose flour (see note)
1/4 cup milk (maybe: see note in recipe)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Note: Whole wheat flour hydrates differently than more refined flours. If some extra liquid isn't used in a baking recipe where whole grain flour is used as a substitute for refined flours, whole wheat cookies and pastries can end up crumbly or sandy. My rule of thumb is, if I'm substituting whole wheat flour where all-purpose flour is called for: add 2 tablespoons milk per cup of flour (4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup, so in this recipe we are using 1/4 cup milk to hydrate 2 cups whole wheat flour). An extra egg can sometimes help with texture and binding as well - so if you like a firm, soft cookie, go ahead and use 2 eggs in this recipe, and maybe just 2 tablespoons of milk. If you are using all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat flour, omit the milk. The butter, ricotta, and egg will sufficiently hydrate all-purpose flour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, (ideally the one that goes with your stand mixer), use either a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer to cream together the sugar, orange zest, and butter. Add ricotta cheese and milk (if using - see note) and stir to incorporate. Add egg and stir to combine, followed by flavored extract of choice (or convenience anyway). Add in the flour mixture and stir until you've got a nice soft, tacky, pliable dough. Measure out tablespoon-sized balls onto a baking sheet (no greasing or Silpat required), leaving at least a couple inches between (they expand a lot). Bake for about 15-17 minutes, rotating pans 180 degrees after 8 minutes for more even cooking. Cool for at least 5 minutes on baking sheets and serve. Allow them to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container (where they will get softer over time).

* I hope I got everyone's name right. 

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