Cookies, oh boy! I have a weakness for cookies and I won’t turn down one or two or even three if offered. I read the recipe a few times and thought these can’t be too tough. They’re cookies. Hmmm, I was just a little wrong. The name is intriguing – The Ischler. Rose explains that it’s an Austrian cookie created in the spa town of Bad Ischl. A thin almond cookie sandwich with apricot lekvar and chocolate.
Well, back to the recipe. I made the dough a day ahead and put it in the refrigerator so that the dough could absorb the moisture evenly and make it easier to roll. First off I had to grind sliced almonds and powdered sugar to make sort of an almond flour.
Easy enough. Next I added 2 sticks of butter.
After that was incorporated, I added the egg and vanilla. A funny thing with the egg, the recipe called for 1/2 of an egg. What! Then I remembered that I had read in another one of my favorite cookbooks, The Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller, about weighing eggs. By doing that, you get the exact amount of egg for the recipe. After all, eggs aren’t alway equal in size. Once the egg was mixed in the dry ingredients were added and blended until everything was just incorporated.
I kneaded the dough a bit then cut it into quarters and wrapped it in plastic. Off to the fridge.
So far things are going well. The next day I made the lekvar. Lekvar is a thick jam or fruit butter. Who knew? I bought some dried apricots and had the bags sitting on the counter in the kitchen. A while later, I came back in the kitchen and found one of the bags on the floor with little teeth marks all over it. I wonder who did that. Oh, that crazy Beagle, Dakota. Fortunately, she didn’t get in the bag. Here she is feeling ashamed at what she did.
It was pretty easy to make the lekvar, just a little time consuming since the apricots needed to soak for a couple hours in water. After that they needed to simmer on the stove for about 1/2 hour.
After that, into the food processor with some apricot brandy. I didn’t have any so I bought a small bottle of it. All for 1 teaspoon. I also added the sugar and lemon zest. It kind of looked like baby food.
Then the mixture needed to go back on the stove and cooked down a bit and thicken up.
It really did remind me of baby food and the more I looked at it, it was a fruit butter. I remember growing up and my Mom would give us apple butter for toast. Love that stuff.
With the lekvar done, it was time to roll out the dough. This dough was really sticky before I put it in the fridge and after a day, it was really hard, I let it sit out a while to soften. Rose said to roll it out to around 1/8″ so I got a couple sticks that were 1/8″ thick and used those as guides for rolling. It worked pretty well but some of my cookies came out just a tad bit thicker. Even with plastic wrap on the dough, rolling it was a challenge. It wanted to crack some and it softened up really fast.
Here is where things got a little messed up. I preheated my oven to 350º and my oven thermometer said just that. Put the cookies in for 4 minutes then rotate the pan and bake for another 2 to 6 minutes.
Can you guess which stack was the first batch? These suckers bake quickly and just like toast, they can burn in a heartbeat. The next batches I watched the oven like a hawk so they wouldn’t burn but even then, some of them got a little too dark on the edges. As the cookies cooled, I made the chocolate ganache filling which was super easy. Melt the chocolate and add the cream. Assembling the cookies was fun, one cookie had a thin layer of the lekvar and the other cookie the ganache then sandwiched together. Done!
So how were they? Very good! The cookies were very delicate and had a wonderful almond flavor but with the lekvar and ganache, yum! Yes, they did take a little time to make but I would definitely make them again. I have enough of the lekvar left to make about another couple hundred cookies 🙂 The good thing is the lekvar will keep in the refrigerator for a long time. Might have to try some of it on an English muffin.
Next week will be Almond Coffee Crisps. Can’t wait for that one. Anything with coffee in it is a wonderful thing!