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Sweet ricotta peach cookies

Orange infused sweet ricotta peach cookies or cakes are a wonderful bite-sized celebration dessert!

5 from 2 reviews

These orange infused sweet ricotta peach cookies really capture the essence of spring and summer. They’re pretty and so delicious.

Scale

Ingredients

Ricotta filling

Cookies

The rest

Instructions

  1. Make ricotta filling
    In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta with sugar until smooth and creamy. Stir in orange zest and vanilla. Chill the mixture, covered with plastic wrap, while you make the cookies.
  2. Cookies
    Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C – see notes for more options) with a rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until combined. Whisk in milk, melted butter, salt and lemon zest until smooth. Fold the dry ingredients into wet in 2-3 additions, until well incorporated. Finish mixing the dough with your hands and press it into a ball. If it’s very sticky add another tablespoon or two of flour until it sticks together, but not more than that. The dough should be smooth and soft. Let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes (or even a few hours).
  4. Roll the dough into 2 logs, slice each log into into 44-48 pieces and shape each one into a smooth ball. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, placing them 2.5cm (1 inch) apart, as they will rise during baking. Press down each ball slightly, so the bottom flattens. Bake the first round for about 10 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown (the tops will remain pale). Rotate the pan halfway through baking. As you take the first tray of cookies out, put the second one in the oven.
  5. While the cookies are still warm, cut a circle in the bottom of each cookie and scoop out enough of a cookie for it to hold some filling. (Be careful, don’t pierce the cookie too deep or you risk breaking it.) Set aside. Do the same with the second tray. Next, find a pair for each cookie, you want the halves of the peach to be of similar size.
  6. Assemble cookies:
    Fill each cookie hole with enough ricotta filling that it covers it completely (about a teaspoon). Press the two flat sides of each half together, so the filling comes out at the “seam” and swipe away the extra filling. Brush each peach with food coloring (you can add a splash of rum to it), gently roll it in sugar and place on a large plate. Continue with the rest of the cookies.
  7. Chill cookies, covered with plastic wrap, for a few hours before serving. This will harden the ricotta and moisten the cookies. Decorate the cookies with small mint leaves before serving, to mimic peach leaves. (These cookies keep for about 4 days and taste best on the first two days. Leave them out at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before serving.)

Notes

On OVEN TEMPERATURE

While I’ve always baked these at 350°F (175°C) without any issues, I now have a different oven and I need to bake these at a lower temperature to avoid all of the cookies cracking. I now bake them at 320-330F (160-165C). If you’re unsure what to do, bake a test batch first by placing 6 cookie balls on a baking sheet and baking at 350F. If they come out smooth, you’re good to go. But if all come out cracked, try a lower temperature.

ON FOOD COLORING

Dilute the food coloring with water according to the instructions on the package, if it needs diluting at all. Once diluted you can add flavor to it. Rum is a traditional choice, but you can get food flavoring in strawberry or lemon or peach. All 3 fit this cookie well. (I’ve tried LorAnn oils which are extremely concentrated and a single drop already gives a lot of flavor.)

The food colors I most often use are from Rainbow Dust and Wilton. I hear people have great experiences with Americolor too.

I’ve experimented with natural food dyes but none gave these peaches enough color. My goal was to make “white peaches” which are pinkish and white, while regular peaches are more red and yellow in color. The one thing I haven’t tried yet is beet powder. Its vibrant pink color could do the trick, so you can always try this too instead of using artificial coloring (and I promise to update you all on this as soon as I try this version myself).

You can also skip the coloring completely and moisten the cookies with some sweetened water instead. But since I make these rarely, I don’t see that much harm in artificial food dye. The one I use is strawberry flavored which adds a whole new dimension to these cookies. (I buy it locally, don’t think it’s sold outside of Slovenia.)

TIP FOR MELTING BUTTER

The fastest trick for me is this: I put the butter in a 500ml (1 pint) Pyrex measuring jug and melt it in the microwave in 10-20 second increments. Once it’s almost completely melted, I take it out and keep stirring it with a spoon, until it cools to room temperature.

[update] KEEPING THE SHAPE

As you fill these cookies, make sure you put in enough filling – it needs to reach the edge of the hole you made into the cookie. Once you press the two halves together, some of the filling will come out. This is good as it is the glue that keeps the two cookies together and you just need to wipe away any filling that sticks out of the “peach”. Also know that while you are filling and coloring the cookies, the ricotta filling will get warm and consequently softer. This is why you need to chill these cookies before you serve them. The ricotta needs time to set.

This recipe is adapted from a family recipe and from Southern Italian Desserts.