These scrumptious and beautiful little cookies usually disappear right from the cooling rack in our home. I have to hide them if I plan to serve them as a dessert or pack them for a couple hours drive. The dough, which I use for these cookies, is made of farmers cheese or drained ricotta and butter, is practically no-fail – forgiving and easy to roll. It shapes and freezes like a dream. The texture is light and flaky and the taste a bit on the tangy side, that is why it is excellent for sweet and savory dishes. You can freeze the dough or even the cookies. I love this dough and cookies and hope you will too! —Kukla
• 1 cup (250g) butter or margarine, room temperature
• 1 cup (250g) farmers cheese or whole milk ricotta, well drained, room temperature
• 2 cups unbleached AP flour
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
• About 3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar mixed with zest of 1 large lemon or orange
In a mixing bowl, combine butter and cheese until well blended. Add flour and salt; knead until a smooth dough is formed (You can also use a food processor). Divide the dough into 2 workable size disks, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F., line one or two cookie sheets with parchment paper. If the dough is chilled overnight, take it out 15 minutes before rolling out. Rub flour all over a rolling pin. Place one disk on a clean, well-floured surface. Roll gently from the center of the dough to the top and bottom edges. Rotate the disk and roll to the top and bottom edges again.
Add some more flour to the work surface and rolling pin, turn the dough over, and continue to roll the dough from the center out to the edges. Turn over and roll again, rotating the disk to ensure even rolling until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter, thin but not transparent.
In a shallow dish mix the sugar with lemon zest. Using a 2-inch in diameter round cookie cutter, cut out dough rounds; gently press both sides of each round into the sugar-lemon zest mixture.
Fold each round in four; with your fingers press three lower parts of the dough together and then lift the top (photo 3).
Lay out the cookies on the baking sheets, living about 1/2 an inch in between.
Place the cookie sheet on the middle rack of oven and bake, rotating the baking sheet half way through, until the cookies just start to get lightly brown. In my oven it takes about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack; sprinkle with confectioner sugar, if desired. Store (if there will be any left to store) in a dry place so they don’t lose crispiness.