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bakery-style ricotta cookies


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Step 1

Place 1 stick unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Let sit at room temperature until softened. Meanwhile, place 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Step 2

Add 1 cup granulated sugar to the bowl with butter. Beat with the paddle attachment (or with an electric mixer) on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula.

Step 3

Add 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1 large egg, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Beat on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl again.

Step 4

Turn the mixer on to the lowest speed. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. The dough will be sticky. Fold the dough a few times by hand with the spatula to make sure the flour is completely mixed in. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 or up to 2 1/2 hours.

Step 5

About 15 minutes before the dough is ready, arrange 2 oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 6

Scoop out the dough with a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop or by dropping level tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets. If not using a cookie scoop, roll into a ball. Space out the cookies at least 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets (24 per sheet).

Step 7

Bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from front to back and between racks. Bake until evenly golden brown on the bottom and starting to brown around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes more.

Step 8

Let cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Step 9

Place 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

Step 10

Dip and decorate the cookies in batches of 10 (the glaze hardens quickly): Dip the top of a cookie in the glaze and keep the cookie upside down while gently shaking so excess glaze drips back into the bowl. Return the cookie to the rack, glaze-side up. Sprinkle with nonpareils. Dip and decorate the next 9 cookies before before dipping the next batch of cookies. Let sit until the glaze hardens, about 20 minutes.

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