Ricotta Mini Cakes

tray full of goodness

What's my deal with white food lately? Chicken and rice, doughnuts, snickerdoodle muffins, and now these. Maybe it's some sort of subterranean longing for plain, uncomplicated things.

I found this recipe in a magazine at the gym, and now I can't remember if it was Family Circle, Woman's Day...one of those free subscriptions that show up in all gyms and doctors' offices. I get a gut "I-know-that's-a-good-recipe" feeling sometimes. I had that feeling about these cookies and couldn't wait to see if I was right.

Loretta and I needed a project yesterday. She'd put up with my working, my distraction, and being hauled around town. For both our sakes, I needed to focus on her for a bit. She measured, stirred, and industriously spread flour from one end of the kitchen to the other. When Wyatt and Loretta ate these cookies after dinner last night, they literally started dancing. Wyatt said, "If I had a bigger thumb, I'd use it for a thumbs up right now." I had considered spicing these up with cardamom, lemon zest, or almond extract. In the end, I opted for a big thumbs up instead. Kids always want plain, uncomplicated things. In this case, they're on to something.

my favorite baker

These are moist little cookie cakes, and almost look like drop biscuits when they're baking up, toasty crags on top. The ricotta acts like sour cream or yogurt might, giving a slight tartness, softness, and body. And I love dipping them in the icing rather than spreading it. Genius. If you dip the center of the barely warm cookies into the icing, the icing sticks perfectly and spreads just enough down the sides of the cake.

"Simpler is better" is a message I'm hearing in many forms lately, from clients, friends, kids, from my husband who's always telling me to relax. The other day he made a list. One one side was "Yancey's Stressors." Two things. My column went all the way down the page. Thank God there's only one of me. And it's too bad simpler is sometimes harder. If you're feeling that way, drop everything and make these cookies.

mini ricotta cakes

Ricotta Mini Cakes
Makes 2 dozen. Even though I just gave a sermonette on simplicity, don't let that stop you. I'm not the last word (don't tell my kids that). I imagine Meyer lemon with these. Or so many other things.

2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar
3 Tb. milk

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease two baking sheets (or line with parchment).

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Beat butter and granulated sugar together until blended. Add ricotta, egg, and vanilla and beat until blended. On low speed, add flour mixture. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake until golden brown around the edges, about 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets for a few minutes, then place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.

For glaze, whisk powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Dip centers of cookies in--glaze will slowly spread down the sides. Let glaze harden.