Ischler - The Emperor of Cookies

By • October 25, 2012 10 Comments

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Author Notes: Ischler (or Isler, Ishler) is a tiny cookie dating back to Austro-Hungarian Empire. The cookie was first made in 1849 in the town of Bad Ischl as a treat to the Emperor Franz Joseph I, who established his summer residence there. Needles to say, the tiny Ischlers immediately became Emperor’s favorite desert and incredibly popular across all Austro-Hungarian lands. I inherited two different recipes for Ischler from my two grandmothers. I distinctly preferred the recipe from Grandmother A. I cannot name the names here, because the other side of the family will take offense. Recipe supremacy is a dangerous territory. Grandma B's recipe was far from bad either, it had some very strong points. Hence, my mom and I went to work, did a bit of readjusting here and there, went back and forth a couple of times and united the family in an embodiment of an Ischler that defines perfection. (Just my modest opinion.) The version below is now our “family approved” trademark.

p.s. The recipe requires a certain degree of baking/pastry skills -- if you are not in the mood for making the chocolate cream, you can substitute it with raspberry jam, which is another popular version of Ischler recipe.

Makes about 40 cookies

The Cookies

  • 210g (6 oz) butter
  • 2 small egg yolks
  • 100g (3 oz) powdered sugar
  • 60g (2 oz) dark chocolate
  • 300g (8 1/2) all-purpose flour
  1. Melt the chocolate. In a mixer fitted with paddle, beat the butter with the powdered sugar until creamy. Add the egg yolks and continue to beat until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and continue to beat until incorporated. Add the flour and beat until uniform dough forms. Shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325° convection bake (350° regular bake). Place the dough on work surface dusted with flour and roll it out to a 1/4-inch-thick round. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small round cookie cutter (I use 1-inch or quarter-size cutters), stamp out the cookies and arrange them one inch apart on the baking sheets.
  3. Bake for about 12-14 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

The Cream and Icing

  • 210g (6 oz) granulated sugar
  • 70g (2 oz) semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate (for the cream), cut into pieces
  • 125g (3 1/2 oz) butter (for the cream)
  • 150g (5-6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate (for the glaze)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (for the glaze)
  1. Prepare the cream: In a medium size saucepan, mix the granulated sugar with 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir in the chocolate. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to boil to make syrup. (Occasionally remove the sugar from the edges of the pan with spatula so that crystals do not form.) Once the syrup reaches the soft ball stage (about 235F) remove from the heat and add the butter. Continue to stir until the butter is fully incorporated. Put the cream into the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours until completely cool and creamy. (You might have to occasionally stir the cream to prevent the crystals from forming on the top.)
  2. Once the cream has cooled and firmed in the refrigerator, transfer it to a mixer and beat until it becomes light and fluffy.
  3. Take a cookie round at a time, spread the cream on it and top with another cookie round. (At this point, when all sandwiches are constructed, you may want to put them in a tin and send them to the fridge for about two hours, the cream will firm up and the cookies will be easier to glaze.)
  4. Prepare the chocolate glaze. In a small saucepan melt the chocolate with five to six tablespoons of water over low heat. When all the chocolate has melted, mix well, add the butter and continue to simmer until the glaze is uniform, thick and shiny. Remove from the stove and let it cool for about a minute or two.
  5. Dip the cookie sandwiches into the glaze (one side only), and leave on work surface until the chocolate glaze sets hard (about 2 hours). When the glaze has hardened completely, place the cookies into a tin box with a tight lid, and store in a cool dry place for at least one day before serving.
  6. If you are storing the cookies in the fridge - make sure you take them out about two hours before serving.

More Great Recipes: Chocolate|Eggs|Cookies|Desserts

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