Demel’s Amadeus Cookies

Summer, Sweet Recipes • 10 Jul 2009

Demel cookies

During my college sojourn in Italy, my friends and I travelled to Vienna for a long weekend that turned out to be one of the most poetic times of my life. My memories of our brief but poignant stay in Vienna feel culled from a mystical dreamscape.

Regardless of reality, my mind’s eye views a shimmering indigo Danube (not muddy and murky), ruby red cobblestone streets (not crowded with clueless tourists), luxe palaces, old world charm and enchanted sophistication (memories of the late night bar fights have faded).

The memory of our rustic (and let’s be honest, somewhat soiled) hotel room has evanesced, leaving only pristine, pearly sheets, lush, down-filled comforters, a charming yet exposed shower, and a gasp-inducing view (which probably didn’t even exist). In my mind, Mozart’s beautiful music wafted through the air as we sipped strong coffee and sampled buttercream-coated, meringue-piped and custard-filled cakes, chocolate-glazed pastries and marzipan-filled confections.

Recently Saveur Magazine published an article on the Demel, the famous Austrian confectioner that, ten years later, I still hold in the highest esteem. I ascertain that my memory of Demel is not caricatural. I recall obscene cases of layer cakes, pastries, buttery cookies, apricot jam filled chocolate Sachertortes, flaky strudel, dainty petit fours and endless coffee cakes. I recall white, starched tablecloths, baroque art lining the walls and a majestic air of formality tingeing the air.

The magazine features recipes for Demel’s chocolate truffle cake, marbled coffee cake, Russian punch cake and Amadeus cookies, a buttery sandwich wedged together with Kirschwasser spiked almond/pasticcio paste and dipped into velvety chocolate.

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The sumptuous cookies well represent the grand and luxurious Demel. Visually, they are gorgeous: two golden cookies delicately fastened together with neon green paste, half coated in a dark, silken chocolate. They also taste pretty insane: the liquor spiked paste nestled between crisp, buttery wafers, all playing off the dark, slightly bitter chocolate; not too sweet, but without a doubt, decadently rich.

Amadeus Cookies

For the cookies:
1 3⁄4 cups flour
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks
1⁄2 teaspoon fine salt

For the filling:
1⁄2 cup shelled and unsalted pistachios
1 tablespoon sugar
3 1⁄2 ounces almond paste, at room temperature, chopped
2 tablespoons cherry liqueur, preferably kirsch
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze:
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, preferably 54%, roughly chopped

1. Make the cookie dough: In a bowl, beat 1⁄2 cup flour, butter, and confectioners’ sugar with a handheld mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add yolks one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add salt and remaining flour; beat to make a dough. Halve dough, flatten into 2 disks, and wrap each with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

2. Make the filling: Heat oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, process the pistachios with the sugar until finely ground. Add almond paste and process until combined. Add the kirsch and vanilla and process until combined; set filling aside.

3. Transfer 1 dough disk to a lightly floured surface and roll with a floured rolling pin to a 1⁄8-inch thickness. Using a 1 3⁄4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 24 cookies. Repeat with remaining dough disk. (Combine and reroll scraps to make 48 cookies in all.) Place cookies 1-inch apart on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets and bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cookies are pale golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

4. Meanwhile, make the glaze: Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 3 tbsp. water to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan over high heat. Remove from the heat, add chocolate, and swirl pan to coat the chocolate with the sugar mixture. Let sit without stirring to allow the chocolate to melt, about 5 minutes. Slowly stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula until smooth; set aside to let cool slightly.

5. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the filling onto 24 cookies and top with remaining cookies. Gently press cookies together to sandwich them. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate glaze. Transfer to a rack and let the glaze solidify.

Yield: Makes 24 cookies.

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