Monday, December 15, 2014

The Baking Bible: The Ischler

This week we are baking a twist on a Hungarian classic: the Ischler cookie. Apparently the original cookie is an almond cookie sandwiched with apricot preserves and half-dipped in chocolate. Rose decided there should be chocolate in every bite and so these cookies have ganache AND apricot sandwiched between two cookies.

November 12, 2014
Name of Cookie: Chocolate-Apricot Sticky Middles (Mark named them)
Occasion: Because people like to bake cookies this time of year
Constituents: Almond cookies with thickened apricot preserves or blackberry jam and ganache centers

Disclaimer: I really dislike rolling and cutting out cookies. It's too much persnickety work and I am plenty satisfied with store bought cookies that I sandwich with nutella. If that means I have pedestrian tastes, then so be it.

Mark's mother has a tradition of baking Christmas cookies every year, so to Mark it isn't Christmas without a big cookie production. He told me I need to get used to rolling and cutting out cookies because Eliot needs this tradition too. I told Mark he is welcome to do this tradition with Eliot himself.

Eliot has a favorite book where Mama Owl invites Frog and Squirrel up to her nest for cookies, so when Mark told him I was baking cookies in case Frog and Squirrel came over, I was kinda obligated to bake the cookies. Plus, you know, the bake-through.

They are, in all respects, easy cookies to make. Everything gets mixed in the food processor and it goes really fast. First, almonds and powdered sugar are blended to a powder. Then a bunch of butter is added.

pay no attention to the dirty dishes

It will look like this:

Around now I was starting to wonder if we were sort of making our own marzipan.

Then you add half an egg and some vanilla.

The dough at this point is supposed to be moist and crumbly but mine looked moist and only just a little crumbly. The dough is then kneaded together, divided into quarters, shaped into discs, wrapped in plastic, and left to rest in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.

Then comes the part of cookie baking that I dread the most: the rolling and the cutting out. This dough is sticky, but when you roll it out using plastic wrap to protect your roller from tearing the dough, it really isn't that bad. Still, it just takes longer than I would prefer. I didn't have the right sized cookie cutter but a wine glass was pretty close, so that's what I used.

After the cookies bake and cool, it is time to fill them with ganache and apricot preserves. There is an option to use apricot lekvar which I had all intentions of doing, but this week was not a good week for projects. So I bought some jam and called it good.  I failed to notice how much jam I would need and didn't have enough, but Mark suggested using the homemade blackberry jam our friends gave us, and that was really a great choice.

The jam gets boiled down to become a thick and sticky filling, hence Mark's name for these cookies.

These are good cookies, but I am not in love with them. They would have to be the most amazing thing on earth for me to feel they were worth all the rolling and cutting, and they are a good cookie but not the most amazing. People who enjoy making cookies will no doubt love these. People who enjoy eating cookies will no doubt love these. We have snacked on quite a few of them since yesterday as proof.

We have a recipe for you! Make these for your holiday situation! The recipe is posted up on Pastrygirl's blog, Dessert First.

with apricot
with blackberry


  1. hi Jen, your cookies look lovely and Blackberry and yummy I love blackberry too and your pictures are really nice and so is your step by step Blog is great.

  2. Love your post. I'm with you though, rolling out cookie dough and cutting it out is really time consuming. I like instant gratification.

  3. Blackberry is the best. I love making cookies but then I love repetitive tasks. So, actually I'm just a freak.

  4. Hi Jenn--I ran out of apricot also. I used homemade peach melba jam on the last few cookies. I usually enjoy rolling and cutting cookies but I have been doing it for several days now and have had my annual fill of it!! Great post and good pictures. Please visit me at GIVEAWAY THIS WEEK!

  5. I would have liked blackberry much better than apricot, that's for sure. Love the new name you guys gave these cookies - lol.

    Patricia @ ButterYum

  6. Blackberry sounds super good to me! My son was around eight when I bought my first KitchenAid and he completely took it over. To him it was the next best thing to lawnmower gears and he made us oodles of Tasha Tudor sugar cookies before he actually got his hands on the lawn mower and then that was the end of that.

  7. I am a person who hates to roll out cookie dough, but I'm also a person who loves to eat cookies, so that puts me where I don't want to be: getting ready to make a double batch tomorrow to give away. Now that I know it can be done, I'm also going to fill some with random jams and preserves if I run out of apricot. See how inspiring you are?

  8. ב''ה

    ooh, Blackberry jam sounds great with these. Your in for a real treat with next weeks cookies btw...

  9. LOL! I laughed when you said Mark can do his tradition with Elliot on his own. LOL! I bet blackberry is just as yummy! Your cookies look great despite the fact that you don't like making them.

    1. I agree - the perfect reply :)

      ECL - your Chocolate-Apricot Sticky Middles look delicious and I like the idea of using the blackberry preserves...yum!

  10. Thanks everybody! The blackberry was really, really good.

  11. In my opinion some family traditions need to follow an unbroken genetic line... Giggled at that one - blokes! A cookie baking dad would be so cool and you could repurpose the wine glass for its intended use. Great idea with the blackberry - think it would be more robust. I am in complete alliance with you on the cookie antipathy. Pedestrian tastes for me too. I suspect that because I am not a completer/finisher cookies will never be my strong point...

  12. Totally agree with Mark starting a cookie rolling tradition with Elliot. There are plenty of other traditions you can do anyway - cakes, pastries (Kouign Amann), pies. I have the same KA food processor in red.

  13. I can only imagine how good the blackberry and chocolate tasted together. Great choice! I too think rolling out cookies is too finicky, haha.