Rosemary Lemon Ricotta Cookies

I'm so excited today to go to my first holiday cookie exchange! What's a cookie exchange you say? Well it's a party held in the US where each person brings a different kind of homemade cookie, wrapped up in small packages and then trades with other guests who have brought a different type. You end up taking home a variety of different cookies to share with your family and loved ones.

I have to admit that I was extremely hesitant to RSVP. As the list grew longer and longer with guests, I started to nervously calculate the number of cookies I had to make. For someone who didn't grow up baking with their mom, like many traditional American families, I've never made 66 cookies in my life! Although, I can confidently say, as a Japanese-American, I have made 66 gyozas (folded Japanese dumplings) with mom.

So after my little panic attack, I decided to go. I held my breathe and pressed the "Will Attend" button then posted the cookie I'd be baking into the shared google doc: Lemon Ricotta. Later I got some great pro tips from my friend Sarah, a professional baker, who encouraged me to bake the cookies in advance and put them in the freezer. And to also use a small ice-cream scoop to make the cookies uniform. (Genius!)

As I started baking, and tasting the original Lemon Ricotta Cookie recipe, I was inspired to make something savory. Growing up, sembei, or rice crackers was the snack of choice in my home, so naturally I craved something more on the salty side. On the last tray, I altered the recipe to add rosemary leaves and blue rosemary flowers from the garden with a touch of Hawaiian course sea salt from my Auntie. With so few flowers blooming in the winter, this winter blooming rosemary flower was the perfect tribute to December.

Rosemary Lemon Ricotta Cookies

adapted from Giada de Laurentis on Food Network



2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 lemon, zested


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 lemon, zested

1 tablespoon rosemary finely chopped

Loose rosemary leaves cut in half for topping

Loose blue rosemary flowers

Course sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F

Cookies: Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate larger bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough or use small ice-cream scooper (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool before glazing


Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest and chopped rosemary in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Use a knife to spread. Decorate with rosemary leaves and flowers on top. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours or put in freezer to help harden. Pack the cookies into a decorative container.

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