Meyer Lemon Basil Ricotta Cookies
I have long admired Diane Cu and Todd Porter of White On Rice Couple notoriety. Long before I ever thought food blogging would be something I could and would do. Before I got to meet them at Food Blog Forum in Nashville in 2011 [and where I hopefully didn't act a fool, gushing about how much their writing and photography inspires me]. And well before I ever thought I would get to create with the perfumed, sweet-tart Meyer lemons they grow in their own backyard. I used to be that person that never won contests, folks. And this one? Felt better than winning the lottery. [or at least, what I imagine winning the lottery must feel like!]
If you live in a non-Meyer-lemon-growing state like I do here in TN, you know that the Meyer lemons we get at the grocery store [for ungodly amounts of dollars] are rather puny and barely aromatic specimens of this gorgeous strain of citrus. The lemons I received from Diane + Todd were gigantic – larger than the palm of my hand in most cases. As soon as I opened the box [that sounds so graceful. really? I tore into it as soon as I saw it on the porch] I was hit with a bright floral smell, distinct to the Meyer.
And look at how much fruit is packed into that tender skin! I would normally find two to three times that amount of skin on a Meyer purchased at my neighborhood market.
Since lemon and mint are two of my favorite flavors in desserts and drinks, I pretty much immediately whipped up a meyer lemon mojito with the first few lemons. [I made Brooklyn Atlas' recipe, straight as is. Delicious!]
Then, after spending a few days browsing the recipes I’d pinned to my lemon board on Pinterest, I decided to make a meyer lemon ricotta cookie but twist up the recipe a bit with the addition of basil – both julienned in the cookie dough and finely diced as a garnish in basil sugar sprinkled over the still-wet glaze.
I don’t often toot my own horn, folks, but these cookies? Damn near at the top of my list of the best things I have ever made in my life. In fact, I’m already jonesing to try a Blood Orange version like the one that Todd coincidentally just shared with us last week.
If you don’t have any choice Meyer lemons at your market right now, don’t let that stop you from making these cookies with regular lemons. They might turn out a bit more tart and a bit less sweet than the Meyer version, but I think they will still be so very, VERY delicious.
Are you obsessed with any flavors, like I am with lemon and mint? Is there something that if you see it on a restaurant menu, you must always order it? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know!
Meyer Lemon Basil Ricotta Cookies
Bright, floral and herbal, these cookies are moist and tender, topped with a tangy glaze and sugar crunch.
Yield: 56 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 13-15 minutes
Total Time: 33-35 minutes
- freshly grated zest of one Meyer lemon
- 6 large basil leaves, chiffonade
- 2 cups granulated cane sugar
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 stick [8 TBSP] unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 15 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 3 TBSP freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- freshly grated zest of 3 Meyer lemons
- 6 TBSP freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 4 large basil leaves, minced fine
- 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare baking sheets with preferred method.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer add sugar, chiffonade basil leaves and Meyer lemon zest. Mix on low for 3-5 minutes to incorporate citrus and herb oils into sugar.
- While sugar is mixing, in a separate medium bowl measure and whisk to incorporate dry ingredients [flour, baking powder, salt]. Set aside.
- Add butter to sugar. Mix on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time to sugar mixture, waiting until fully incorporated before adding second.
- Beat in ricotta cheese and lemon juice to sugar mixture.
- Finally, add dry ingredients to sugar mixture. Mix until just incorporated, not any more.
- Spoon or scoop batter onto baking sheets, leaving at least 3/4" of space between each cookie as they will spread.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, rotating halfway through, until edges start to turn golden.
- Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheets for 15-20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
- While cookies are cooling, stir sugar and basil together in a small bowl. Use finger tips to mix basil in with sugar and to activate the oils in the basil leaves, evenly distributing the flavor.
- Once the cookies are cooled and the basil sugar is made, stir all the glaze ingredients together in a large bowl with a fork or whisk. There is no need to sift the confectioners' sugar prior to this step.
- Spoon about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of glaze over each cookie, spreading the glaze to the cookie edges.
- Immediately follow with a sprinkle of basil sugar before the glaze sets.
- Let harden for 2 hours before serving or storing. [Or don't and just devour immediately.]