Friday, December 14, 2012

Italian Lemon Cookies

Getting today's post in just under the wire! It's been a busy week around here ready-ing our home to host Love's staff party tomorrow. I spent this afternoon baking some cookies to serve. Like my mother, I bake several different kinds of Christmas cookies; but, I ran out of time this week, and rather than stress about having a variety ready for tomorrow, I decided I would just make a classic that I think almost everyone loves... italian lemon cookies.

These are my favorite cookies. Love used to bring them home for me by way of his favorite bakery after skiing. Believe it or not, I've never made them for myself! A sweet Italian lady that I used to work with years ago, named Filomena, gave me her recipe one Christmas and yesterday I pulled it out of my recipe file determined to make a batch. Here it is for you to try:

2 sticks butter softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 lemon rinds grated
1 tsp lemon fresh sqeezed lemon juice
1 cup (heaping) ricotta cheese
4 cups flour (plus, extra)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, lemon rind, lemon juice and ricotta and mix until creamy. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients, scraping bowl often.

Form small balls (about the size of a walnut) or make shapes (roll into ropes, then twist).* Place on silpat or greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

* If the dough is too sticky to roll into balls add more flour. I needed to add a little less than 1/2 cup more flour and I also lightly floured my hands about every third cookie I rolled.

Let the cookies cool completely before icing. For the glaze, you will whisk 3 cups of confectioners sugar and 7-8 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice until smooth. Dip the top side of each cookie into glaze, letting excess drip off. Return the cookies to wire racks (on cookie sheet), glaze side up, and sprinkle with nonpareils. Let dry completely before storing. I place a sheet of parchment between each layer of cookies.

This recipe made about 6-1/2 dozen cookies for me. I split that between the traditional ball shaped lemon cookies and these lemon wreaths.

As pretty as the wreaths are, I think the cookies turned out to taste better in the ball form and they take less time, too! Let me know what you decide :)


Shimmer and Shine had their Christmas musical at school tonight.

They are blessed with such an incredible music director! Shimmer played Hark the Herald Angels Sing on the piano and her class also performed a few numbers on their recorders. As a 4th grader, she even had a few speaking parts and played Mary in the musical. Shine is only in first grade so his parts were limited to the choir songs, but he did terrific, too! I really enjoy watching all the students do so well and come into their own.

They opened their advent book before bed tonight and Shimmer read the story to Shine again.

It's a Margaret Wise Brown version of the nativity, called Christmas in the Barn. The perfect ending to a busy day... and now I am finally going to end mine. To all a good night!

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