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!
- 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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