The Ischler

Added on by Monica Cheng.

If there is one cookie that could be the emperor of all cookies, it would be the Ischler.

The Ischler is an elegant little Austrian cookie and there are a few variations on it, but in this version it is essentially a pairing of dark chocolate and apricot sandwiched between soft almond cookie layers. This is Rose's recipe which can be found in The Baking Bible. The thin layer of apricot lekvar accents the chocolate and almond, giving the cookie a "pop!". The cookie itself has a texture that is a cross between marzipan and shortbread. Using unblanched almonds gives the cookies a lovely flecked appearance, and helps to bring out the nutty almond flavor.

This cookie does require a bit of time and planning, but the results are totally worth it. These are especially great as birthday treats and, I would imagine, for other special occasions as well. Ischlers are traditionally a bit smaller than the ones I made, and would look adorable with scalloped edges (if you have the right cookie cutter). In my case, a glass cup worked just as well as a makeshift cookie cutter.


The Ischler

Recipe from The Baking Bible

For the cookie dough:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cold
1 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 cups unblanched almonds
1/2 egg (1 tbsp + 1 tsp), lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour






For the apricot lekvar filling:
2 2/3 cups (1 lb) dried apricots
2 cups water
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest





For the dark chocolate ganache filling:
8 oz (1 cup) bittersweets chocolate (60% cocoa)
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the cookie dough:
Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Butter should be cool but soft enough to press flat.

Process powdered sugar and almonds until almonds are very fine. Add butter, and process until smooth & creamy. Add egg and vanilla. Add flour. Mixture should be moist & crumbly particles and hold together if pinched. Divide into quarters (4 dough discs) and chill in plastic wrap for 2 hours.

Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.

After chilling, set dough disc on lightly floured surface. Let dough soften for 10 minutes, or until malleable enough to roll. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness.

Cut out twenty 2.25 inch cookies. Set each 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Set aside scraps covered in plastic wrap to knead together with scraps from next batches.

Bake at 350F for 6-10 minutes, or until just begin to brown at edges. While baking, remove next dough disc from refrigerator to soften. Repeat the process.

For the apricot lekvar filling:
In medium saucepan, combine dried apricots and water and let sit for 2 hours to soften.

Bring water to boil, cover pan tightly, and let simmer for 20 - 30 minutes on lowest heat until apricots are very soft when pierced with skewer. If water evaporates, add extra.

In food processor, process apricots, sugar, and lemon zest until smooth. Scrape mixture back into saucepan and simmer, stirring constantly (to prevent scorching) for 10 - 15 minutes, or until deep orange in color and very thick. when lifted, a tablespoon should take 3 seconds to fall from spoon.

Cool completely. You will need 2/3 cup for this recipe. The remaining can be refrigerated indefinitely.

For the dark chocolate ganache filling:
Heat/microwave chocolate & heavy cream and stir until smooth. Mixture should drop thickly from spatula.

Pipe/spread a 1/8 inch layer of chocolate ganache onto half of the cookies. Spread a thinner layer of apricot lekvar onto the other half of the cookies. Assemble the two halves together.

Storage:  airtight room temperature for 5 days or frozen 6 months.