As some of my friends may know, bakery marzipan cakes and almond paste filling pastries are my weakness, so today I’m excited to share with you these exquisite cookies that incorporate my favorite ingredients.
Inspired by the Viennese bakery Demel, Amadeus cookies are these delicate butter cookies that enclose an exquisite almond pistachio filling and are dipped halfway in velvety dark chocolate. Taking a bite is like meeting crisp, pleasantly sweet, buttery heaven with the aroma of almond pistachio and dark chocolate to balance.
The filling by itself is absolutely delicious; imagine almond paste but enhanced with pistachio flavor. I don’t normally consume things by the spoonful (unless it’s peanut butter + chocolate chips), but this, I could certainly make an exception for. Almond and pistachio pair wonderfully together, and the pistachios lend the filling a beautiful green color that I think makes it perfect for serving on the holiday cookie platter.
Amadeus cookies are usually shaped as circles, with fork indentations to create faint lines on the surface, but I thought it would be fitting to shape the cookies as hearts because “amadeus” is derived from the Latin word meaning “to love” (translation: I simply thought these cookie cutters looked cuter.). I also decided to incorporate butter cookies instead of shortbread. So in the end, these cookies may be a little different from the Amadeus cookies you might find in Vienna (granted, I’ve never been, so I actually have no idea how this compares with the original), but the important thing is that they are inspired by the original and let’s be honest, the only way to get the real deal is to visit the bakery and see for yourself!
Anywho, I hope you enjoy the cookies as much as we did. Definitely double or triple up the recipe if serving a crowd, or even just feeding yourself, because there certainly wasn’t enough to go around when I made these!
A vignette featuring my lovably oblivious dad, who doesn’t know how to read post-its: “Monica, those cookies you made are yummy!” “Which ones?” I ask, because we have lots of cookies lying around the kitchen these days. He responds, “The ones you labeled, do not eat. They’re very impressive. Have you ever considered baking school?” *facepalm* Happy holidays!
For the butter cookies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 egg (whisk whole egg and use half)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
For the almond pistachio filling:
1/2 cup shelled & unsalted pistachios
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup almond paste, room temperature, cut into pieces (recipe below)
2 tablespoons cherry liqueur, preferably kirsch*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate, for dipping
1 teaspoon almond oil or canola oil
For the butter cookies:
Combine butter, sugar, egg. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add orange/lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Fold in flour and baking powder and mix at low speed until combined. Divide dough in half. Shape into balls, flatten slightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silplat.
Work with one dough at a time, keeping the other dough refrigerated. Work quickly, while the dough is quite cool to the touch. Place dough on top of lightly floured parchment paper. Place another parchment paper on top, and use rolling pin to roll dough to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness. Using parchment makes it easier to avoid sticky dough and create a smooth surface.
Cut into shapes using round (or shaped) cookie cutters. Immediately place on baking sheet as you go, leaving approximately one inch between each cookie. Make lined indentations by gently pressing a fork on the surface of the cookies.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until edges are just slightly golden. Watch carefully after the 6 minutes mark, because the edges will turn golden extremely quickly, and then will burn.
Cool cookies completely before filling. Meanwhile, roll up scraps and place in freezer to quickly cool down the dough. Work with the next dough in a similar process, until all scraps are used.
For the almond pistachio filling:
Process pistachios and sugar until finely ground. Gradually add almond paste in pieces. Then add kirsch & vanilla. Consistency will be relatively thick.
Make sure almond pistachio filling is completely at room temperature for easier piping/spreading. Make a makeshift piping bag by placing filling into plastic ziploc bag, cutting a snippet from one corner, and bringing the filling to that corner. Take a cookie and carefully pipe close to the edges, outlining the shape of the cookies before filling the centers with the filling. Do this with half of the cookies, and then top with other half to make a cookie sandwich.
Carefully melt dark/semi-sweet chocolate in a small deep dish (good for dipping), along with 1 teaspoon of almond oil (to help smooth the chocolate). I used the microwave method, but double boiler also works. Dip cookies halfway in chocolate & garnish with powdered sugar or other embellishments if so desired. Serve & enjoy!
*Note: Alternatively, any fruit juice that pairs well with pistachio and almond would work. I used sparkling apple cider.
From Jacques Torres Chocolate, MrChocolate | Yield: 1/2 cup
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup blanched almonds*
1 tablespoon Kirsch or simple syrup (optional)
Place granulated sugar, honey, and water in saucepan and bring to strong boil. Place almonds in food processor and grind until coarse. Remove boiling water from heat and pour over coarse almonds. Blend thoroughly until smooth. If mixture is too thick, slowly add Kirsch or simple syrup. Quality of almond paste is determined by how smooth the consistency. Wrap almond paste in plastic wrap and allow to cool.
*Note: All-recipes has a great video on how to blanch almonds: http://allrecipes.com/video/263/how-to-blanch-almonds/