Who Stole the Best Italian Cookie……?

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Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Remember this sing-song rhyme? Bakers with kids know it well. It’s sweet and fun just like my all time favorite Italian cookie which just happens to make the perfect dessert bite for an Easter or Mother’s Day celebration.

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Made with ricotta cheese these cookies are soft and cake-like. They absolutely melt in the mouth. Recently, I made them for a bridal shower. I had many requests for the recipe which brings me to their decorating versatility. They can be dressed up for any occasion and so not limited to Easter or Christmas when typically eaten in my family.

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The cookies  featured here are dressed for Easter, but add a little gel color to the icing and/or make a topping change and they can easily be featured at a baby shower or Mother’s Day brunch. Don’t hesitate to change up the flavoring, too. Any extract or citrus zest will play well.

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So who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

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The ones with the sprinkles on top!

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Annabelle stole the cookie from the cookie jar. Nice breakfast, huh? Grandma’s privilege.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

  • Servings: 3 dozen cookies
  • Print

1/2 (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon coconut extract

2 cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt

Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract

2 teaspoons buttermilk or lime juice

Toppings

Sprinkles, coconut, finely chopped nuts

Heat oven 350F. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light. Add ricotta and zest; blend well. Add egg, vanilla and extract; blend again. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt; add to dry ingredients and blend well. Chill dough for 30 minutes. Drop cookie batter by tablespoonfuls or use a cookie scoop onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. The cookies will look pale on top. Cool. For icing, mash powdered sugar, butter and salt together with the back of a spoon until butter is well incorporated into the sugar. Add flavoring and just enough buttermilk or lime juice to get a light icing consistency…more of a glaze than a thick icing. One at a time, dip top of cooled cookies into icing, letting excess drip off, and then immediately dip into one of the toppings. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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Crispy Coconut Curried Devils

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Today is about food. I know it’s been awhile. Moving forward the blog should mirror real life. Lately, real life is less about obvious grief and more about cooking, baking, photography, gardening and that little jelly bean better known as my grand-daughter. Make no mistake. My son is my first thought when I open my eyes in the morning, the last when I close them at night and many moments in between. I celebrate William in all that I do. Like grief, his inspiration is never ending. Enough said. Let’s move on. More food and less grief. I NEED it to be this way.

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Do you like deviled eggs? How about Crispy Coconut Curried Deviled eggs? I created this recipe for a contest sponsored by Eggland’s Best. As many of you know (because you have been voting for my entries non-stop) the contest theme is “foodtography” and I was lucky enough to have 3 of my food photos accepted. One, my smoothie bowl cake, made it to the final 4 (woot woot). While voting for the deviled eggs many of you asked for the recipe. Today, I am happy to be able to share it with you.

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Crispy Coconut Curried Devils

6 Eggland’s Best Eggs, hard-boiled, cooled and peeled

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon sweet Asian chili sauce

½ teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley, plus additional for garnish

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for deep frying

1-cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ cup flaked unsweetened coconut

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 Eggland’s Best Egg, lightly beaten with 1-teaspoon water

1 scallion, finely chopped

Slice hard-boiled eggs in half lengthwise. Press yolks through a strainer into a bowl. Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, chili sauce and curry powder; blend well. Stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Heat 3-inches of vegetable oil to 350°F. In another bowl, mix panko and coconut. Dredge each egg white half in flour. Dip in egg wash to coat and then dredge in panko-coconut mixture. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Pipe or spoon yolk mixture into hollows of egg whites. Arrange on serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley and scallions.

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When Worlds Collide Make Dulche de Leche Coconut Cake

dulce de leche coconut cake

dulce de leche coconut cake

Never under estimate the power of being a good friend. When one is grieving having a sympathetic friend whether near or far is priceless. Having a friend that reaches out from time to time reminds those in mourning that they are never alone. An occasional call or visit to a friend who is grieving gives strength and hope for a better tomorrow.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by some great friends. Not only my friends, but William’s friends. Whit, for example, is one of William’s very best friends in the whole wide world. Whit and Will met in high school and were captains of the Taft lacrosse team. They had fun and they had plans. I can’t imagine how Whit felt when he got the news of Will’s accident. How it is to lose a best friend?

Whit & Will: Taft Formal

Whit & Will: Taft Formal

Lynn is one of my best friends and William’s godmother. We’ve known each other for nearly 35 years. My kids grew up in the same house Lynn grew up in (’cause we bought the house after her parents retired and moved). When one day I was digging in the garden I discovered an old silver US Navy ring-we’re talking WWll. Turns out that Lynn’s dad was in the Navy. She gifted that buried treasure to William. In fact, William always felt like he hit the jackpot with Lynn for a godmother because she always gave him the coolest gifts. How does it feel to lose a much loved godchild?

bff's

bff’s

Whit’s and Lynn’s worlds collided at Will’s funeral. I don’t get to see either one of them very often, but I think of them every day and hold them in my heart along with so many other friends. Too caught up in my own grief I probably have never told them how sorry I am that they lost someone so near and dear to THEIR hearts. A best friend. A godchild. I am so sorry. So sorry to everyone who ever loved him, too.

Whit and Lynn often send me stuff–good stuff! The kind of stuff that inspires me to cook and bake… So when Whit sent me some dulche de leche from his travels and Lynn sent me some Wadmalaw Island Firefly Distillery Southern Accents Coconut Cake Liqueur their two worlds collided again and out came something as sweet as they are: “A Little Dulche de Leche Coconut Cake”.

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A Little Dulce de Leche Coconut Cake

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1-tablespoon cornstarch

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

4 eggs

¼ cup Southern Accents Coconut Cake Liqueur

1-teaspoon coconut extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, softened

½ cup sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

½ cup buttermilk

Topping

2 tablespoons dulche de leche

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons Southern Accents Coconut Cake Liqueur

toasted coconut (as much or as little as you like)

Heat oven 325F. Spray a coffee cake pan or (6 cup) loaf pan with no-stick baking spray. In bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda; set aside. In a large measuring cup, whisk eggs, liqueur and extracts until blended; set aside. In large mixer bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add both sugars and beat on high until light and fluffy—a good 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, slowly pour egg mixture in and continue beating until incorporated—mixture will look curdled. Add flour mixture, 1/3rd at a time, alternating with buttermilk just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a rack. Meanwhile, in small saucepan over medium heat, stir dulche de leche, heavy cream and coconut liqueur; bring to a low boil. Simmer mixture until it reduces down to ¼ cup. While cake is still warm spread glaze over top and sprinkle with toasted coconut.