Cake in the Closet

In food on 02/07/2010 at 1:01 pm

Yesterday we hopped on the LIRR after the ‘epic’ snowstorm of 2010 for an OMM appointment. The doc is also my mentor, so it was a half business-half social call. Besides making this a plug for my future career, our stomachs also enjoy patronizing Cardinali’s, an excellent Italian bakery across the street. Their lobster tails are to die for.

On our recent trip to Philadelphia last month, the other half’s tax friend introduced us to another sweet delight at Isgro’s, near the Italian market (aka the epicenter for all things Jersey Shore-ish): the ricotta cookie. It’s essentially a vanilla cake trapped in the cookie closet, soft, fluffy and QQ. I imagine it was invented by a toothless Italian grandmother who still had a sweet tooth.

The ones we ate were drizzled with chocolate on top, which made a faux contemporary zigzag pattern, but I barely tasted the icing. Most recipes use cream cheese instead, which makes it look like a melt-away, but this texture isn’t sandy. These cookies are confused enough already, so stop the madness! I had reservations when I saw such a benign-looking blob of dough, but was amazed by the airy, yet dense, mouth feel as I gobbled it away. Even worse, the other half had only bought two of these babies, so I was forced to share.

Alas, since Cardinali’s doesn’t make ricotta cookies and our resident baker is whiling away the hours at work on a Sunday, it’s up to me to appease my craving. I say, why scrimp on the chocolate, let’s dip them, like black and whites (sans white)!

After everything is incorporated, the dough is very wet and gooey. Don’t fret, just make sure you line your baking sheet. It also reminds me of a choux pastry dough. I was brainstorming whilst the oven blasted away, that adding parmesan cheese and pepper would make these a very nice savory snack. Or maybe substituting goat cheese for some of the ricotta, which is quite bland.

Make sure you whip the dough long enough to trap as much air as possible, adding to the fluffiness of the final product. This is a messy affair, so get ready to get your fingers goopy.

Thanks to Giada, the life-sized Bratz doll, for this recipe, which I futzed with to add more zing.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) tub whole milk ricotta cheese
5 Tbsp lime juice
1 lime, zested
1 tsp vanilla extract (or your fav flavor)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lime juice, zest and vanilla. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line  baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon dough (1 Tbsp per cookie) – super sticky, like pudding but stringy. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden at edges. Cool on rack, then dunk into melted dark chocolate and dry.

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