Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weekend Cooking...Yes, Christmas Cookies.

Ok, talk about being late to the party! Today I am going to write about Christmas cookies!

I do bake on occasion, but my Christmas baking tends toward my Christmas cake (it was wonderful, the best ever, thanks for asking) and an ocassional Yule log, when I feel up to a challenge.

I am not a big cookie baker. However, when the niece wanted to have a Christmas cookie baking day, I was up for it. I would make my favorite gingerbread men and try out a new recipe, for ricotta cookies.

The niece arrived with a number of recipes in hand..none of which she had ever made before. Which we discovered may not be the best idea, especially when you plan to give the resulting cookies as gifts. We had a couple of failures...(the doggies boys, Bandit and Sammy loved them)... but a couple of great successes! One of them was for Russian Tea Cakes, the powered sugar ones pictured in the box above. So good.

Russian Tea Cakes 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In a medium bowl, cream butter and vanilla until smooth. Combine the 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar and flour; stir into the butter mixture until just blended. Mix in the chopped walnuts. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3.Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When cool, roll in remaining confectioners' sugar. 

My other favorite cookie was the Lemon Ricotta Cookie, based on a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network.
I never made a ricotta cookie before but a Christmas does not go by when someone does not bring some of these cookies, which seem to be an Italian Christmas staple,  into work. But Giada's, with the  lemon addition, is by far the best I have tasted. Light, cakelike and oh so lemony.
The picture is not mine, so you have to take my word on it that I added multi-colored sprinkles on top, as many of the Ricotta Cookies I have had in the past did. It makes them look quite festive!

photo from
Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

Hey, better late than never!
And who says cookies are just for Christmas!
Let's make January Cookies! Did I mention my birthday is just around the corner?

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. I love your boxes!!!! Okay, back to the cookies. Russian tea cookies were a specialty of one of my grandmothers, so I grew up with them. Yummmmmmmm.

    The ricotta cookies are new to me, but they look good and easy. I'll keep this recipe in mind when I next decide to bake.

  2. Your cookies are gorgeous, and I love the boxes, too! Russian tea cookies are a favorite, yet I've never made them. Will try both recipes when I'm ready to bake again.

  3. Yummy! I think my box got lost in the mail, so you might need to resend it.

  4. I love these boxes too. Do you need my address?

    By the way, one of our favorite things to do when in the presence of Russian tea cookies is to take pictures of each other after eating one, you know, with powdered sugar lipstick.

  5. I don't think it is every too late to talk about Christmas cookies :) I usually try to make extras during the holidays and freeze them to have with tea in the colder months of January and February.

    I love Russian Tea cakes - and hope to try your recipe sometime soon (I did not make them this year at Christmas, so perhaps a Valentine's day cookie?)

  6. Thank you for the cookies-I still have cookies from Christmas baking in the freezer. I was just thinking that we should bake Christmas cookies all winter.

  7. I think your timing is just right for these cookies. I'm especially interested in trying the Lemon Riccotta Cookies. I love all things lemon and the fact that lemon juice and zest is in both the cookie and the frosting make this a winner. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  8. These look wonderful! Now, I'm hungry...

  9. Mmmm...want to come down here and help me bake mine? I actually used to bake cookies for gifts, but I got busy and lazy and stressed about the other cooking I had to do over the holidays. So I quit. Bad Sandy

  10. Maybe because there are a lot of people of Italian heritage in South Jersey, no plate of Chrismas cookies around here does not have Ricotta cookies.

    as the snow falls AGAIN outside (they predicted 1"---I just dug about 8-10 out of my driveway) it is grand to have a nice bag of frozen Christmas cookies in the freezer.
    Sadly, I do not!

    I may have to whip up a batch.
    Of each.
    After I get home from work. tomorrow.

  11. Cookies are never out of season ... thanks for sharing these recipes!

  12. Those boxes are so beautiful... lucky people who are to receive them! Thank you for the wonderful recipe, I am bookmarking it as we speak!

  13. OMG I'd pay a fortune for a box like that! Well done!

  14. Do you make sfogliatelle too? Recipe please?? One of my favorite foods on the earth. I have tasted them only from Maria's Bakery in the North End of Boston.

  15. I got the boxes from amazon. wilton makes them....i think they make boxes for just about every holiday.

  16. yes, amazon has the boxes. I even saw some of the Christmas ones on sale.

    sadly nan, I have never made sfogliatelle...but I have eaten them, in Little Italy in NYC.
    I think he dough involves yeast, doesn't it, and yeast scares me. :-)

  17. yeast it seems, but they still scare me.


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