My husband’s Aunt from New York recently came to visit and she brought us a big box of cookies from an Italian bakery in NYC. I don’t hide my love for these cookies and if there was a support group out there for an Italian bakery addiction, I’m pretty sure I’d have to attend the weekly meetings. *raises hand* Hello, my name is Kelly and I love Italian cookies.
Earlier this year, I made a fantastic batch of Amaretti cookies that reminded me of the East Coast variety that I adore so much from Mike’s Pastry in Boston. This new box of treats prompted me to remember that I also wanted to bake my next Italian favorite, the jam cookie.
I found a great recipe from the Woodland Bakery Blog that came with detailed instructions and even a little instructional video.
I was always under the misconception that any cookie containing a jam element would be harder to make, but that’s just not true. These babies were pretty straight forward and the most challenging part was piping them in consistent sizes.
These cookies end up being slightly sweet morsels with a pretty dollop of jam in the center. They don’t quite have the same cake-like texture that many of the Italian cookies have, but they are nonetheless incredibly delicious and worth a try. I also think a batch of these would be perfect for the holidays because of the lovely deep red of the raspberry jam. I can already see these as part of my holiday
addiction dessert bar. Yes…yes, I will have to do that!
Italian Butter Cookies
Recipe adapted from Woodland Bakery
Makes: about 3-1/2 dozen cookies, Difficulty: Intermediate
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, sifted
- 4 egg whites
- 1/3 cup soft almond paste
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup good quality raspberry jam
Special Equipment: You will need a pastry bag fitted with an Ateco 1M tip. You will also need a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Begin by softening the almond paste in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium to high-speed. Try to get it as soft as possible and to the same consistency as the butter. Once the paste is soft, you can then add the butter and shortening. Cream all three together on high-speed.
Next add the sifted confectioners sugar all at once, and mix on medium speed just until combined.
Combine the egg whites, almond and vanilla extracts together. On low-medium speed, add the egg white mixture in 3 additions being sure to mix well in between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl. Once all of the whites have been added, add the sifted flour mixture all at once and mix just until it comes together, being careful not to over mix
Spoon the dough into your very sturdy pastry bag fitted with a Ateco 1M tip and proceed to pipe rounds about 1 1/2-2 inches in diameter onto a parchment lined sheet pan, spacing each cookie approximately 1 inch apart. Using the back of a wooden spoon, gently indent the center of the cookies to make a small well for the jam. Bake for about 14-16 minutes or until the cookies are slightly browning on the edges.
Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire racks. Spoon 1 cup of jam into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 20-30 seconds to warm the jam to make it easier to spoon onto cookies. Once the cookies have fully cooled, spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the centers. Store in an airtight container to maintain freshness.