These melt-in-your-mouth Ricotta Cookies with Candied Orange & Raisins will surprise and delight your senses with the burst of flavor and taste right from the first bite.
Food choices that we make every day can either make or break our health. Well, maybe that was a bit too dramatic. How about, they can either enhance or slowly undermine our health. Being a dietitian, I see a proof of that every day. Making healthy choices doesn’t have to mean eating something that tastes like a cardboard. But there are times when even a delicious balsamic beet salad or tangy chicken soup will not satisfy that overpowering need for a sweet treat.
While hitting a nearby supermarket for a pack of cookies might be quick and easy, it will never be as satisfying as baking your own from scratch. And if the recipe incorporates healthy ingredients, such as protein-packed ricotta and fiber-rich raisins, all the better. Are you with me?
Ever since I was a kid, I remember coming home from school and enjoying a quick snack of my mom’s fresh baked cookies with a steaming glass of tea or a cold bowl of plain yogurt (depending on the season) just before starting my homework. Ricotta Cookies with Candied Orange & Raisins were one of my favorites. While I do not indulge every day in the same habit as when I was a kid, I make sure these cookies are not strangers in my house.
These are simple and deliciously satisfying. A secret ingredient that makes them taste uniquely different is lemon zest. Something magical happens whenever dairy product, such as cream cheese or ricotta, is paired with lemon zest. Just think of lemon cheesecake and you will see or taste 🙂 my point. You might say that vanilla extract and candied orange will do the trick on their own. I thought the same, but was proven wrong at the first bite – the dough is just not as fragrant. Imagine, biting into aromatic, soft as a cloud cookie – and while munching on it, you will discover a burst of oranges that will hit your taste buds as soon as you’ll find a bit of candied oranges hidden as a little surprise. And don’t omit raisins – they will enhance the flavor of vanilla, and combined with lemon zest, the aroma of the dough will not fail to delight you!
- 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 ½ tablespoons (75 g) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
- 1/3 cup (84 g) ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup diced candied orange
- ½ cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, with the hand-held mixer, beat butter for 1-2 minutes, or till it becomes lighter in color. Add sugar, two tablespoon at a time. Beat till the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add ricotta, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Beat well to incorporate. Add flour mixture and beat well till all the flour is incorporated.
- With a spoon or silicone spatula mix in raisins, candied orange, and toasted nuts.
- Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of the dough at a time on a prepared baking sheet. Make sure to leave about 2 inch (4 cm) space around each spoonful as cookies will spread a little bit while baking.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or till cookies are lightly golden. Remove from the oven. Using a metal spatula, transfer cookies on a wire rack. Cool completely.