When the Christmas season approaches I get all excited about two things: cookies and surprises. Well, actually three: snow too!

So when I had the opportunity to think of a new recipe for this Christmas, I knew I could roll all three of these holiday joys into one package. Ricotta Snowball Surprises!

First the cookie. I love them and my holiday baking focuses on making special cookies and sharing them with friends. Chewy, cake-like cookies are my go-to and Ricotta is the perfect ingredient for an airy cookie that takes flavours on gorgeously. Next, the snow: soft and fluffy Ricotta reminds me of snow shaped so right, like beautiful little snowballs.

Finally, the surprises. We all get a little excited about gifts under the Christmas tree or giving a surprise to kids and friends. So these cookies have a little surprise in the middle, which is chocolate! The best part about these cookies is the surprise of sharing them with loved ones or anyone who needs a little Christmas cheer. This year, #RandomActsOfCooking means yet another reason to share my Christmas cooking and baking (and gives me a reason to come up with new recipes too!).

Participating in #RandomActsOfCooking means cooking for someone who is in need or who you just want to surprise. It’s meant to get us all back in the kitchen, to enjoy cooking or baking and sharing food with the people you care about. My #RandomActsOfCooking was for a friend who is on bed rest during her pregnancy. She was missing cooking for her family and being involved with events so I figured she could use a little surprise. My son and I dropped off these Ricotta Snowball Surprises to pick up her spirits and celebrate the start of the winter and Christmas season.

When did you last whip up a batch of cookies for family or friends? Pass on your #RandomActsOfCooking this winter with these Ricotta Snowball Surprises or try your own creation. Happy Holidays!

Ricotta Snowball Surprises
For the dough:
½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup (235g/half a tub) of Tre Stelle Traditional Ricotta
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons coconut extract OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

For rolling:
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut for rolling
2-4 tablespoons granulated sugar for garnish
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale. Mix in the Ricotta, eggs and flavouring extract.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the mixture until just combined. The dough will be quite soft but cooling it will allow you to work with it for rolling.

Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes or up to one day.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge. Using a cookie scoop, create dough balls for the cookies. Flatten a ball in the palm of your hand and place three chocolate chips in the middle. Fold over the dough to encase the chocolate and roll between your palms to create a ball. Roll the ball in the coconut and place it on a cookie sheet for baking. If you find the dough is still sticky, dampen your hands before rolling the cookies.

Once you have a full cookie sheet of cookies, sprinkle granulated sugar over the cookies for a sparkling effect once they are baked.

Bake at 350 on the middle rack for 14 to 15 minutes, rotating the tray half way through.

When done, remove the cookies to a cooling rack to stop the bottoms from browning too much. Yields approximately 4 dozen cookies.