MY MOTHER’S RECIPE #1- Italian Ricotta Cookies

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” 
― Laurie Colwin

Hi there,

A friend of mine reminded me that in May we celebrate Mother’s Day. Bev suggested I do something with mother’s and grandmother’s recipes for the month. Thank you Bev.

I am going to start out with my mother-in-law’s ricotta cookie recipe. This cookie is without doubt her son’s favorite cookie in the world. He always discourages me from making them because he is afraid he will eat too many.

My mother-in-law was the quintessential first generation Italian American woman. She worked hard in a factory her entire life to make sure her family would rise up to the next step of the ladder of the American dream. You can imagine her satisfaction and happiness when her son, Dom, became a Doctor.

Her family meant everything to her and her happiest moments were when we all gathered around her table and inhaled the huge feast she prepared for us. And I mean every meal was huge. The first Thanksgiving I spent with her, she started dinner with pasta. Well, of course, I thought “I guess you have pasta for dinner and not turkey if you are Italian”. So, I proceeded to eat a big plate of spaghetti. You can imagine my horror when out came a Turkey with all the trimmings. I learned my lesson fast. I would pace myself and always saved room for these Ricotta Cookies she made on the holidays.



  • 3 1/2 cups (495g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups (370g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 15 oz ricotta, whole milk or fresh (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs


  • 1 Tbsp butter (salted or unsalted), melted
  • 3 3/4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 – 6 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut


  • For the cookies:
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt for 20 seconds, set aside. 
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip together butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy (scrape down sides and bottom of bowl occasionally throughout entire mixing process).
  • Mix in ricotta and vanilla extract then blend in eggs one at a time. Set mixer on low speed and slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or up to 2 days. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 20 minutes of dough chilling.
  • Scoop chilled dough out 1 Tbsp at a time and shape into balls (if it’s too sticky just drop onto sheet using two spoons), drop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (I don’t recommend using dark non-stick pans for this recipe since the bottoms will already become pretty golden. Dark pans brown more than uncoated pans do).
  • Bake in preheated oven 12 – 14 minutes until underside of cookies are golden. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  • Once cool dip tops of cookies in glaze and return to wire rack, immediately top with a dab of coconut or add sprinkles if desired. Allow glaze to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in a single layer.
  • For the glaze:
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, lemon juice or almond extract, vanilla and 4 Tbsp milk until smooth, adding in more milk 1 tsp at a time to thin as needed (you don’t want it to be very thin, it should be quite a bit thicker than a doughnut glaze).

Wishing everyone a Mother’s Day filled with opportunities to make happy memories.

❤️💕 Bernadette

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

15 responses to “MY MOTHER’S RECIPE #1- Italian Ricotta Cookies”

  1. Oh my gosh, and pasta fills you up so much! I’ll bet you were stuffed after that first holiday together. These cookies look so soft and yummy, I can see why your husband asks you to refrain. I also LOVE the pretty plate you used to showcase the cookies. Looks very elegant! 🙂

  2. What a delightful memory and I adore the quote about cooks are never alone, that is wonderful! The cookies sound divine, send over a plate full please!

  3. I just love your Mother’s recipe for Italian Ricotta Cookies. I can’t wait to try the recipe. Thanks so much for sharing with us and come back to see us soon!
    Miz Helen

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