I knew who she was. I read one of her latest cookbooks a couple of months ago. But after meeting her in person, I am a huge fan of Giada of Food Network fame.
We recently attended a convention in Las Vegas related to my husband’s job. I tagged along to get out of town. Although Vegas is close to the bottom of my list of favorite vacation spots, two events were memorable.
One was the Donny and Marie show. Loved it and highly recommend it if you enjoy clean, fun, and slightly retro entertainment.
Even more exciting was eating at Giada’s new restaurant. We were talking to our waitress about the possibility of seeing Giada when she told us Giada was in town, and she would occasionally walk through the restaurant visiting with patrons. As luck would have it, she appeared in less than 5 minutes, making her way from table to table. I could hardly contain myself as she headed our direction. She is gorgeous and seems to be a charismatic ball of energy. I was impressed with how tiny she is and her million-dollar smile. How does she maintain her weight considering how much she cooks and must think about food all day, every day. She says people ask her that question more than anything else. She shares her secrets in Giada’s Feel Good Food cookbook.
The brown bag in the picture holds cookies we ordered from the dessert menu. I was too excited and flustered to think about removing them from the bag for the picture. The assortment included Giada’s famous Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Icing. Her recipe from “Giada’s Kitchen” was my inspiration for these Frosted Lemon Cookies. They taste very similar to me.
I substituted Greek yogurt for the ricotta cheese since I always have homemade Greek yogurt in my fridge but rarely ricotta cheese. The tanginess of yogurt + the tartness of lemon = a perfect marriage of tastes. If your Greek yogurt is not as thick as ricotta cheese, you might want to strain it to remove more of the whey so the texture is more ricotta cheese-like. I also reduced the sugar slightly and cut the recipe in half because I rarely need a whole recipe of any dessert.
If you love lemon like I do, you will be sneaking bites of these little cookie-cakes with a tart and crunchy icing until they are gone. Speaking of icing, if you want to go all out for a party or shower, ice the cookies twice, letting the frosting dry for 30 minutes after the first layer.
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter (room temperature)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- grated rind of 1 small lemon
- 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¾ cup thick unflavored Greek yogurt
- 1 cups powdered sugar
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.
- In large mixing bowl, whip soft butter until smooth. Add sugar and continue beating until mixture is fluffy. Add egg and keep mixing until smooth again.
- Combine lemon rind, lemon juice, and Greek yogurt with above mixture.
- Stir in dry ingredients making sure there are no stray pockets of butter that aren't mixed with the flour in the bowl.
- Spoon a generous tablespoon for each cookie onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Bake at 375 degrees F. for 15-17 minutes (depending on whether it is the first batch or the last) until edges are beginning to brown.
- After 10 minutes, pull the cookies away from the paper and allow to continue cooling on a rack or tea towel. Smoothly coat the top with lemon frosting. Allow cookies to set for 2 hours to allow time for frosting to dry. For extra decadence, apply a second layer of icing after the first coat dries for about 15-30 minutes.