When we lived in San Francisco, I would occasionally nanny in the North Beach neighborhood, aka SF’s Little Italy. There are some awesome Italian bakeries over there, and I could never resist stopping in for a few little cookies. One of the bakeries specialized in focaccia and I’m sad that I never got around to buying it before we moved. If you’re in San Francisco, spend some time in North Beach- it’s a fun neighborhood with a lot of boutiques and a bounty of great restaurants! Also, check out the candy shop Z Cioccolato on Columbus Ave. and eat as much taffy as you want while you shop, along with a homemade fudge sample!
I had some leftover ricotta cheese that was ready to be used (meaning, just about on its last leg), so I searched allrecipes.com for some kind of cookie I could make with the ricotta. These cookies taste somewhat similar to sugar cookies, but the ricotta gives them a bit more richness and they are definitely chewier. We loved them and as always, I ended up eating more than my share Since an almond flavor reminds me of Italian baked goods, I added some almond extract to this recipe and it gave it a nice touch.
Isn’t this photo awesome and ridiculous? Alex and I decided to get creative with his old dental school typodont….
Italian Cookies, adapted from this recipe
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond extract
8 ounces ricotta cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. In a medium bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla, almond extract and ricotta cheese. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually stir into the cheese mixture. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a medium bowl, cream together the remaining butter and confectioners’ sugar. Beat in vanilla and milk gradually until a spreadable consistency is reached. Frost cooled cookies.