This is the first of two cookies Rose’s Alpha Bakers will turn out in December. Rose tells us that it comes from the “Zauner Bakery in the spa town of Bad Ischl, which was said to be the favorite vacation spot for Emperor Franz Joseph.” I have an interesting gossipy tidbit for you. Bad Ischl is where the Emperor built a villa for Katharina Schratt, an actress, who was the lifelong friend and confidante of the Emperor. Their relationship is said to be plantonic and was “tolerated” by the Empress. There you have it, the TMZ style news of the late 1800s. Now, on to the baking!
The recipe offers two methods of preparation, food processor and stand mixer. In Poland, I have neither. Rest assured; The Ischler can be made successfully with just a hand mixer. I was a little doubtful at first, but my perserverance paid off and the dough came together nicely.
Because our move was looming, and I was trying to clear out the fridge, I used a strained apricot jam rather than making the Lekvar filling. I can only imagine the homemade filling is better, but these were still quickly devoured.
The nutty, shortbread like cookies are sandwiched with an apricot filling and a very thick, dark chocolate ganache. Of course, Rose gives us an exact measurement for each. I went with the verbal description of a thin coating of apricot filling rather than measuring exactly, probably because I have been eyeballing measurements in Poland. I didn’t bring measuring spoons, and I’ve found the IKEA coffee cups that came with the flat are a good substitute for measuring cups. I now know that I should have used a little more apricot filling. The fruity taste was overwhelmed by the ganache. I would like it to be a little more prominent next time. The ganache is made with a 60% chocolate, something I couldn’t find at my supermarket, Piotr i Pawel. So I added a bit of milk chocolate to my 70% chocolate.
It makes a very sophisticated, very European cookie — a nice addition to any holiday cookie tray!
As one of Rose’s Alpha Bakers, I don’t share the recipe as I do in most of my blog post, but you can find The Baking Bible in bookstores or on Amazon. It would make a great gift for any bakers on your list.