I know you are wondering what makes these so great. It is hard to pinpoint one singular thing about them so I will cover all of the elements. The outer part is a shortbread type of cookie, which can stand alone in taste. The filling is a unique blend of pistachios, almond paste and cherry brandy. This amazing filling is what really makes these cookies extra special. In fact, I found myself doing probably too much taste testing of that element!
Also, if that is not enough there is a suggestion to dip these halfway into a chocolate glaze. Due to the Texas weather and that these cookies will be going to Ft Hood, I declined on dipping these in chocolate.
So if you are looking for some special and unique cookies, I hope you will try these. This recipe makes about 2 dozen.
Now before we get to the recipe, I wanted to give a special thanks to a few bloggers that passed the Versatile blogger award to me:
Jodie at Binomial Baker - This blogger just states that she is a college student cooking her way through life. However, you will not find the typical college fare at her blog. I wished when I was in college I had a friend preparing food like she does. From Lemon gnocchi to Chai Tea Muffins her recipes are sure to please.
Bloggy Writer at Food Lovers Club -this blogger is fairly new to the scene, but she is off to a great start. I already have bookmarked her Apple and Walnut Ice Cream as well as the Pan Smoked Chicken Breasts.
Take a moment and check out their sites if you haven't already!
Now for the recipe.
adapted from Saveur Magazine, Feb 2009
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
3.5 oz of almond paste, chopped (I used half of 7 oz box)
1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs cherry liqueur or cherry brandy
1 tbs sugar
To make the cookie dough, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Then add the 1/2 cup of flour and salt, then mix until no dry streaks remain. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time for 30 seconds. Then, using a wooden spoon fold in the remaining flour, forming a dough.
Once all the flour is incorporated, take out 4 sheets of wax paper. Each should be about 12 inches long. Separate the dough into 2 sections. Place one piece on a sheet of wax paper and shape into a flat disk. Then cover with another sheet of wax paper. Repeat the process with the other piece of the dough. Then stack the two disks on top of each other and place stack on baking sheet and refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
During this time you can make the filling. Fill a large bowl of a food processor with the sugar and the pistachios. Cover and process for about 45 seconds or until the nuts are ground into small pieces. Add the almond paste and process again for 45 seconds. Pour in the cherry liqueur and the vanilla extract and pulse until all liquids are equally distributed into filling. Set mixture aside.
After 45 minutes have passed of chilling time for the dough, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Dust a flat surface lightly with flour. Take out one of the disks of dough and roll into a 1/8 inch thickness using a rolling pin. Cut out circles with a round cutter, about 1 3/4 in diameter. Place cut outs 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake in oven until edges turn golden, which is about 20 minutes. Pans will need to be rotated at the halfway point. Remove pan and transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Continue with this process until all dough has been formed and baked into cookies.
Once cookies have cooled, pair them up so they sandwich well together. Place one cookie in each pair with the underside facing up. On each underside, place 1 tsp full of filling and flatten it slightly. Then press the other matching cookie on top. After this, you can dip the cookies in melted chocolate if you prefer. Then place back on rack to let the glaze solidify.
**LAST YEAR: Dark Chocolate and Orange Muffins**