A quick google search for baking with leftover ricotta pairs it with lemon; I wanted something a little more tea-time-y, for the kids (ahem) to attack after school.

Naturally, Italian recipes are where I should have headed to, straight away, when I was staring at the ricotta and wishing it away.  When faced with a leftover or an ingredient that you get a “NO” about, well, give it to someone who’ll like it at work, or think about what cuisine it comes from/is associated with.  So leftover lamb is great with Middle Eastern spices; leftover nuts work well in Far-Eastern and African cuisines; and ricotta – well, Italian, d’uh.

These cookies are like little cake bites; so soft and fluffy and not too sweet.  If you love lemon, go ahead and add a grating of fresh unwaxed zest if you like.  I like these comforting with vanilla, perfect with a cup of tea, 4pm, when I step away from the laptop and fart around the house/pretend the kids aren’t staring at the screen/ignore the plaintive looks of the dog.

(Leftover ricotta) cookies

Makes millions (about 30)


115 grams soft unsalted butter
100 grams caster sugar (though really any aside from dark brown will work)
1 egg
215 grams ricotta
100 grams ground almonds
150 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence


Large mixing bowl
Teaspoon/measuring spoons
Baking trays
Greaseproof paper
Electric hand whisk/whisk and strong arms!
Flipper for taking the cookies off the baking trays
Wire cooling rack

Optional: Jug/bowl with water/flour – for making it easier to shape the cookies


If the butter is already room temperature, then about 15 minutes to mix and another 15 or so to bake
Longer if you need to leave your butter to soften
You can leave the mixture in the fridge if you’d want to say make the dough earlier and bake later


Leave butter to come to room temperature
Line your tins with greaseproof paper


Turn the oven to 180C
Mix the butter, ricotta, sugar, vanilla and egg until combined
Mix in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt
Don’t over mix! This is quite a wet dough, don’t worry!

If you want to leave the mixture to rest, cover and place in the fridge.  Bake within 3 days

Using a teaspoon, scoop out mixture
If possible, shape into rounds – you might find it easier to have floured, or very wet hands, to do this
When placing on the tray leave around 5 cm between cookies to allow for spreading
Bake for between 12 and 20 minutes and check – this really depends on your oven and whether the dough has been in the fridge.  I had to rotate my trays 180 degrees to make sure my cookies were golden all the way round
They will be soft, so leave for a minute to harden before transferring to the cooling rack


They’ll be safe to eat for even after 5 days, though stale

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