These Ischler Törtchen are chocolate covered almond shortbread with apricot filling! A favorite vintage Christmas cookie!
Another cookie Mom and I have been making for eons are Ischler Tortelettes, otherwise know as ishler or isler . These cookie sandwiches have such a gorgeous flavor and texture.
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!
History of the Ischler
As with many vintage recipes, there is some debate over it’s 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 1800’s. 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 apricot 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
- granulated sugar
- baking powder
- lemon zest
- lemon juice
For filling and glaze
- apricot jam
- semisweet chocolate, baking chocolate melts better than chips
- almond slices, for garnish
How to make them
- Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl.
- 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.
- Form a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Refrigerate overnight.
- Roll dough to 1/8″ thick on floured board.
- Cut out 1.5″ or 2″ circles with a round cookie cutter, between waxed paper. See recipe notes for important tips.
- Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheet. They can be placed close, since they don’t rise too much.
- Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes until very lightly browned. Don’t over brown, or they will taste burned.
- Match up tops and bottoms.
- Fill with a bit of apricot jam. Top with another cookie.
- Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler, a small saucepan or in microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring between bursts. Don’t get chocolate too hot or it will seize up.
Frost top of cookie with a layer of chocolate. Decorate with slivered almonds. Allow cookies to dry on cooling rack for at least a couple hours.
- Dough is best made by hand. The mixer over mixes the dough, and it may end up tough.
- 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 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 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 from sheet, after baking.
- 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, handle gently.
- Don’t overfill with jam, or it spills out the sides.
- Do not overheat 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 freezer for about 1 month, longer, if they are tightly wrapped (and last that long).
Tools I Use
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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.
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!
- 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
- 3/4 cup (4 oz) semisweet chocolate baker's chocolate melts better than chips
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- Blanched almonds , halved
- 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.
- 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.
Originally Published 12/14/2014 Updated 2/2/2022.
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Ground almonds–Would that be almond meal or the finer almond flour, or just small coarse bits of almonds?
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.
Looks so delicious! Can’t wait to try this one!
Thank you Katie! Happy holidays!
Penny M Calla
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.
Penny M Calla
The complete name in the booklet is Ischeler Tortelettes
Yes. That is the name we knew it by but the more appropriate spelling in Austria is Ischler, Ischler tortes, and a few others.
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.
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!
Thanks Sherry. I’m glad the post was helpful and that you liked the cookies!
Apricot and chocolate sounds like such a delicious combo. I’m adding these to my baking list over the weekend!
Let me know how you like them. Thanks for checking out the recipe Kathryn!
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
These sound like the perfect Christmas cookie, so delicious and a great treat for the whole family!
Thank you Bintu. They are definitely a favorite around here!
These look absolutely delightful! I’m part Austrian, so I’ve got to give these a try this season!
They are everyone’s favorite cookie in my house. I hope you enjoy Alison!
Gabby | The Tolerant Table
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 ????
They are definitely delicious, Gabby! But i totally wanted to kill him! Thanks!
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.
Thank you Michelle! They really are heavenly!
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 ????????
Oh, one of my favorite flavor combinations! Definitely give it try! Thanks Aleka!
Such a pretty cookie! I love that you used apricot. They look delicious.
Apricot is one of my favorites!! Thanks, Ellen!
Ooh, such delicious little cookies. I love the combination of chocolate and apricot. So perfect for the holidays.
Chocolate and apricot are one of my favorite combinations! Thank you Tara!
These look great! Nice and easy as well as full of flavor!
Thanks, Debi! Yes, they are not difficult at all!
Alex & Brittany
YUMMY!!! We want some 🙂
You now have the recipe! They’re not hard. Give them a shot!
Why did you make them, Shell? You’re such a good daughter! Keep the tradition going!
And my favorite
I didn’t know they were your favorite! I’ll send you some but you have to hoard them and not tell anyone else! LOL!