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Ischler – Austrian Shortbread, Chocolate & Apricot

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These Ischler Törtchen are chocolate-covered almond shortbread with apricot filling! A favorite vintage Christmas cookie.

Chocolate covered, almond topped cookies with Christmas greens and lighting in the background.Pin
Ischeler Tortelettes

Another cookie Mom and I have been making for eons is Ischler Tortelettes, otherwise known as Ishler or Isler. These cookie sandwiches have such a gorgeous flavor and texture.

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I literally have to threaten my teenagers with a swift death, if they steal any out of the freezer. There is a really good reason for that! Read on.

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History of the Ischler

As with many vintage recipes, there is some debate over its origins, depending on who you read. Most agree that it is named after the small Austrian town of Bad Ischl.

It is said that the proprietor of a pastry shop in the spa town, Johann Zauner, developed the recipe for Emperor Franz Joseph I, who was Austro-Hungarian empire in the mid-1800s. He had a summer residence in Bad Ischl.

Debate over fillings

Again, as with many vintage recipes, there is debate over what these confections were filled with.

Some maintain they should be filled with a chocolate cream. Others are of the thought they should have jam filling, such as sour cherry, raspberry, or apricot. Then dipped in or frosted with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache.

The original recipe we found was filled with apricots and frosted with semi-sweet chocolate, so that is the recipe we still use today.

To add to the confusion, most specify almonds were used, but others swear that hazelnuts should be used for the shortbread. This one, in particular, would be a delicious substitution.

What you need

  • ground almonds
  • flour
  • granulated sugar
  • baking powder
  • butter
  • lemon zest
  • lemon juice
  • salt

For filling and glaze

  • apricot jam
  • semisweet chocolate, baking chocolate melts better than chips
  • butter
  • almond slices, for garnish

How to make them

  1. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix with hands to incorporate all ingredients until a uniform dough forms. You can make them in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, but I find it easier to use your hands.
  3. Form a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Roll dough to 1/8″ thick on a floured board.
  5. Cut out 1.5″ or 2″ circles with a round cookie cutter, between waxed paper. See recipe notes for important tips.
  6. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. They can be placed close since they don’t rise too much.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes until very lightly browned. Don’t overbrown, or they will taste burned.
  8. Match up tops and bottoms.
  9. Fill with a bit of apricot jam. Top with another cookie.
  10. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler, a small saucepan, or in the microwave in 15-second bursts, stirring between bursts. Don’t get chocolate too hot, or it will seize up.
Pin

Frost the top of the cookie with a layer of chocolate. Decorate with slivered almonds. Allow cookies to dry on a cooling rack for at least a couple of hours.

Pro tips

  • This dough is best mixed by hand. The mixer over-mixes the dough, and it may end up tough.
  • The dough should be really cold. Then, let a small piece sit out of the refrigerator, and then roll.
  • Roll dough between pieces of waxed paper.
  • Before cutting, loosen both sides of the dough from the waxed paper. To do this, gently peel off the paper from one side of the dough. Then, replace the paper and gently flip the dough over. Loosen the other piece of waxed paper, then cut out shapes.
  • Bake cookies on silpat, parchment paper, or greased and floured baking sheet.
  • Let cool just a few minutes, before removing them from the sheet, after baking. They tend to break if they are too hot.
  • Cool on wire racks.
  • Since the dough is so short, you usually end up with a few random shapes. Match a top cookie to a bottom before filling and icing.
  • Thin cookies are quite fragile, so handle them gently.
  • Don’t overfill with jam, or it spills out the sides.
  • Do not overheat the chocolate, because it can seize.
  • If chocolate becomes seized, add a little more butter, or better yet, warm water, a few drops at a time.

How to store

Store between pieces of waxed paper in an air-tight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Can be stored in the freezer for about 1 month, even longer, if they are tightly wrapped (and last that long).

Chocolate covered Ischlers Sandwich Cookie with slivered almonds on top on marble boardPin

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What are your favorite Christmas, or holiday cookies?

In our family, everyone has a different favorite cookie! These Ischler cookies, Jam Filled Cookies, Christmas Cut Out Cookies and Hildabrötchen are a few, we are obligated to make, to keep the family happy.

These are by no means difficult but they do take quite a bit while to make. For a single batch, about 2-3 hours, with drying time, depending on how big your cutter is. 2″ cookies are made much faster.

Chocolate covered Ischelers Tortellettes Sandwich Cookie with slivered almonds on marble boardPin
Ishlers Tortchen

I hope you enjoyed the post today for these delicious Ischler Tortelettes! Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Enjoy! And have fun cooking!

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Chocolate covered, almond topped cookies with apricot filling on marble boardPin

Ischler

Ischeler are a vintage Austrian Christmas Cookies are a family favorite! Almond shortbread filled with apricot jam and frosted or dipped in chocolate.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: European
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 36 cookies
Calories: 126kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup ground blanched almonds
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh or bottled
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam

For Glaze

  • 3/4 cup (4 oz) semisweet chocolate baker's chocolate melts better than chips
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • Blanched almonds , halved

Instructions

For Dough

  • Sift flour with baking powder and salt.
  • Cut 1 cup butter in small pieces.
  • Add butter, ground almonds, sugar, lemon juice and rind to flour,
  • Knead with hands until dough is very smooth and firm.
  • Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

For cookies

  • Roll small parts of dough between waxed paper to 1/8″ to 1/4″ thickness; dough is easier to roll if it is left out of refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. See notes ***
  • Cut into 1″ or 2″ rounds. 
  • Bake cookies on greased and floured cookie sheets, or on parchment paper covered sheets, in moderate oven (350 F) 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove cookies carefully. Very thin cookies are fragile.
  • After cooling, put two cookies together with jam in between, sandwich fashion. 
  • Melt chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter over hot, not boiling, water. Beat until smooth. If necessary, add more butter or up to 1 tablespoon hot water to achieve spreading consistency.
  • Frost cookies on top. Decorate tops with slivered almonds immediately, while frosting is still soft. Cool thoroughly before storing. Will freeze up to 1 month.
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Video

Notes

Roll dough between waxed paper. Dough is very short. It is best to loosen the rolled dough from both pieces of waxed paper. To do this, carefully lift the waxed paper from the top of the dough. Then add the top back on and carefully flip the dough over, so that the bottom is now the top. Now just pull the waxed paper off of the top. Now cut out shapes, pick them up with a cookie spatula and lay on parchment lined cookie sheet.
General Baking Tips:
Always measure dry ingredients with a dry measuring cup. Measure with dry measuring cups or weigh dry ingredients.
Always measure liquid ingredients with liquid measuring cup
Never break eggs directly into recipe. Break eggs into a separate bowl, in case you get any shells, so that you can pull them out.
Make sure that you know what temperature your oven is set at. Buy an oven thermometer and check temperature regularly.
Always check baked goods, like cakes or quick breads with cake tester, placed in center. If the tester comes out clean, it’s done.

Nutrition

Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 35mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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Originally Published 12/14/2014 Updated 2/2/2022.

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34 Comments

    1. For the dough I use almond slivers that I grind in a food processor. I like some large chunks. If you don’t have a food processor, you could chop with a knife or substitute almond meal.

    1. Your recipe is a copy of a very old recipe Kraft and Bing Cosby Christmas show 1948/Sheila McClain New Years Day special 1949 I have the original recipe booklet (pink) and it’s exactly the same. You should give them credit if you’re using their recipe and their instructions. Give yourself credit for the pics but this is not your recipe to take credit for. I personally share recipes/pics all the time but I give credit always.

        1. Yes. That is the name we knew it by but the more appropriate spelling in Austria is Ischler, Ischler tortes, and a few others.

      1. Thanks. We actually got this recipe from a Woman’s Day cutout in the early 1970’s but I haven’t been able to find it. I state in the first sentence that this is a vintage recipe. Like many vintage recipes, they change over the years and change from region to region in their country of origin. I’d be interested to see the booklet that you have. Have you seen an online version of it? Thanks again. Have a nice day.

  1. 5 stars
    These were so easy to make because the instructions were super clear- a huge plus for this beginner baker! They taste absolutely delicious, I can’t wait to make them for my neighbors!

  2. 5 stars
    Apricot and chocolate sounds like such a delicious combo. I’m adding these to my baking list over the weekend!

  3. 5 stars
    These sound like the perfect Christmas cookie, so delicious and a great treat for the whole family!

  4. 5 stars
    These look fabulous Beth! What a naughty son you have sneaking off with so many of your treats ???? Just goes to show they are clearly delicious ????

  5. 5 stars
    Wow! These would be my cookie heaven! They’re beautiful and the combination of apricot and chocolate. That’s perfect. Yes, I can see these disappearing so quickly. Delicious.

  6. I love unique cookies and these are definitely that! I have never had chocolate and apricot together but I’d love to make these to try that combination!! Sounds perfect ????????

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