This Austrian cookie ranks as one of the finest of all time. It was created in the wonderful Zauner Bakery in the spa town of Bad Ischl, which was said to be the favorite vacation spot for Emperor Franz Joseph. The classic method is to sandwich the fragile, thin almond cookies with apricot lekvar or preserves and then to dip the cookies halfway into melted chocolate. Because I am one-quarter Austro-Hungarian (my great grandfather fought in Franz Joseph’s army), I feel I am qualified to adapt the recipe slightly by spreading the melted chocolate onto the entire inside of the cookies so that I have the glorious taste of apricot and chocolate with every bite.
|unsalted butter, cold|
|pure vanilla extract||.||.|
|bleached all-purpose flour|
|fine sea salt||.|
Two 15 by 12 inch cookie sheets, nonstick or lined with parchment | A 2¼ inch scalloped or plain round or heart-shape cookie cutter
Food Processor Method Cut the butter into ½ inch cubes and let the cubes soften slightly while measuring out the remaining ingredients. The butter should be cool but soft enough to press flat (60° to 70°F/15°to 21°C).
Process the powdered sugar and almonds until the almonds are very fine. Add the butter and process until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and process until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add it to the processor and pulse just until incorporated. The mixture will be in moist and crumbly particles and hold together if pinched.
Stand Mixer Method Soften the butter to 65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C.
Using a nut grater, grate the almonds until very fine.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, cream the almonds, powdered sugar, and butter, starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed to medium, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until incorporated and the dough just begins to come away from the sides of the bowl.
Scrape the mixture into a plastic bag and, using your knuckles and the heels of your hands, press it together. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap and use the wrap to press down on the dough, kneading it until it is smooth.
Divide the dough into quarters, about
Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and
Remove a dough disc from the refrigerator and set it on a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour the dough and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough soften for about 10 minutes, or until it is malleable enough to roll. Roll the dough
Cut out twenty 2¼ inch cookies. Set them a minimum of
Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack and let the cookies cool for about 1 minute so that they will be firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Use a pancake turner to lift the cookies onto another wire rack. Cool completely.
While each batch of cookies is baking, remove the next dough disc to soften before rolling and then roll the dough for the next batch. After the last batch is cut, if desired, knead together all of the scraps and repeat chilling, rerolling, and cutting.
Using a small offset spatula or butter knife, spread the bottoms of half of the cookies, up to ⅛ inch from the edge, with a very thin layer of the apricot filling (about
Airtight: room temperature, 5 days; frozen, 6 months.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.