I love Italian cookies, all kinds. I think it began when we were in Italy during the summer of 2001. Pastry shops were as abundant as the gelato stands, Pasticceria Marchini at Ponte S. Maurizio in Venice was the most memorable. A convenient, delightful refuge, we bought a beautifully wrapped bag of square, powdered-sugar-coated fruit jelly candies, a chocolate dipped clementine (Sinful!), and a “cookie” that Jim could not resist that was the size of a bagel. It turned out to be a wonderful almond pastry with a ribbon of date filling running through. I moaned with pleasure when I bit into this The selection at this lovely shop was incredible and unlike anything I’d ever seen. Every available space was covered with one kind of confection or other. I was particularly taken with the chocolates molded to look like carnival masks. It was at this precise moment that I vowed to learn to make Italian cookies as soon as we returned home.
I've been collecting recipes ever since. Each time I try one I think of that pastry shop in Venice. This recipe is a favorite of mine, not just for its taste and appearance, but also for the ease of preparation.
Italian Raspberry Sandwich Cookies
1/2 pou unsalted butter
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
Pinch of baking of salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup raspberry preserves
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix at low speed until ingredients are well blended. With the mixer running at low, add the melted butter gradually, and continue beating for 2 minutes.
Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, until all the ingredients are combined; beat for 1 minute. Add milk and continue beating at a higher speed until the dough is smooth and pliable.
Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch diameter open-star tip and fill two-thirds full with dough. (I like to use the clear disposable pastry bags available at Michael's.) Pipe onto parchment paper, creating logs approximately 3 x 1-1/2 inches.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
When the cookies are cool enough to handle, spread each one with a thin layer of raspberry preserves. Press together two cookies, creating a sandwich. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
For more delicious Italian cookie recipes, I recommend this book.
This post is linked to Sweets for a Saturday.