~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Amadeus Cookies... with pistachio/almond filling.

Amadeus Cookies... with pistachio/almond filling. 

Sept 2008. 4 years ago. 400 recipes later. My culinary journey continues. This year I stopped to reflect a little bit on my path to improve my skills in the kitchen. It wasn't intentional, this "improving" part... I mean, I always considered myself a "pretty good cook". I could throw ingredients together and make a pretty decent meal, even be creative with leftovers. Didn't realize that I had so, so much to learn...

Ten years ago, I moved to Montana... and my life in the kitchen changed. I started focusing on eating healthier, while cooking and baking from scratch. I slowly began to "toss" out the box mixes, the loads of cans, the bought breads, switching them for homemade goods and breads... and then, by default, we stopped going out to eat(for the most part). I challenged myself to open my horizons and try different recipes from all over the world. I slowly realized that over  the years I had limited myself to recipes that "came to me on the spur of the moment".... wasn't necessarily bad, but I wasn't really branching out to cook anything unique or different. Sure, I may have tried a new dessert recipe from time to time, or a different recipe for a lasagna or baked dish, but for the most part I didn't deviate from the normal meal that consisted of some type of meat, starch, and a salad or soup. I was stuck in a mold, working with the same basic ingredients/recipes over and over.... and there were a myriad of recipes that were waiting to be tried.

Four years ago, I opened by own blog... mainly to keep a record of the recipes I was trying and loved. I haven't stopped since. I've had my share of failures in the kitchen... and with the blog itself. By trying to make my blog more user-friendly, I "learned" to tweak my own site... by blindly adding/changing the HTML format,  placing drop down menus, scrolling bars, a recipe index, a sitemap with labels, etc. All this was done with absolutely NO experience in the world of computer knowledge. At times, I thought for sure, I would lose all my recipes! I've even had my computer hard drive crash... and in the process lost many of my photos. At the time I thought, "maybe it's just time I close the shop down". Somehow I was able to get up and continue... 

Now years later, after my very first post, I can only look back with a content feeling of accomplishment because of God's grace. I've tried many recipes, have definitely been humbled in quite a few failures, yet at the same time,  I have learned so, so  much. Lots of techniques I've implemented, improvements in my baking skills, and learning to bake bread... loads of breads. In the process, I've also opened myself to gluten-free recipes, and using natural good-for-you ingredients. It's been ever so much fun to experience various flavors from all over the world... not to mention that our meals were/are hardly boring:). And in my culinary journey, I have shared with you the recipes I've been privileged to try. I've learned so much from my readers, and  have been extremely blessed with God's faithfulness to me throughout these years. So thank you for being a reader!

I had wanted to post a wonderful cake recipe(I still plan on it:)) for this milestone in my life... but somehow thought it best to share this recipe for Amadeus cookies. I stumbled upon this recipe one day... and was simply mesmerized by its uniqueness. And since I absolutely LOVE sandwich cookies, I knew I had to try it. In my quest to cook and bake healthier, I normally shy away from using too much sugar, butter, cream, and the likes. But on occasions, I truly miss baking "normal" recipes. So from time to time, I will let myself be unhindered, though I will normally still try to bake from scratch as much as possible. In any case, these cookies stuck with me... and I needed to try them:). 

I chose to make my own homemade almond paste for this recipe(recipe coming soon), and followed the cookie recipe as close as I could. But I didn't have any Kirsch around, so I ended up looking for a substitute. I read that you could sometimes get away with using a cherry/berry flavored syrup instead. Yet,  I didn't have any such syrup on hand either. ... or so I thought. It took me a couple of days to think about the recipe and how I could substitute the Kirsch... I knew that I wanted that flavor to be in the filling (it was the filling that originally caught my eye). But, wait, it finally struck me... the pomegranate molasses I had sitting in my fridge, couldn't that work? I poured a little bit of the molasses in a teaspoon and tasted it. Wow, a revelation... it tasted like a cherry/berry concentrated syrup(of course:)). It would work! So, that's when I knew I could finally take out my butter and sugar to make these Amadeus cookies.... 

My version of this cookie: A classic British shortbread cookie that meets Middle Eastern flavors. The buttery shortbread cookie melts in your mouth, while the pistachio/almond filling laced with the tang of the pomegranate syrup makes this cookie worthy to be posted. The cookie dipped in melted chocolate brings about an elegance that's fit for the queen:). The cookie has easily become a favorite. Hope you enjoy...     

Note: I chose to make these cookies in a 2 day process. I made the filling and cookie dough the day before. Baked and assembled the cookies the following day.... this way the cookies didn't  feel so laborious:)... They are a rich sort of cookie, but the tang of the pomegranate-nut filling sort of balances the richness out. 

Tip: After dipping the cookie in chocolate, you can then dip the chocolate part in some finely chopped pistachios, if you like.  

You will need: adapted from Saveur


1 3⁄4 cups flour
12 TBS unsalted butter, softened
3⁄4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 egg yolks
1⁄2 scant tsp fine salt
1 tsp vanilla extract, optional(I added)


Note: The dark color of the pomegranate syrup can turn the filling into a somewhat  army-green color, as will the pistachios that still have that outer brownish skin on them. Having clean, skinless pistachios will help preserve the bright green color.... and feel free to use the clear Kirsch. 

1⁄2 cup shelled and unsalted pistachios
1 TBS sugar
3 1⁄2 oz. almond paste, at room temperature, chopped
2 TBS cherry liqueur, preferably kirsch*
1 tsp. vanilla extract
*I substituted with pomegranate molasses(2TBS), which gives the filling a slight sour element.... almost like a fruit jelly flavor. You can of course use a cherry syrup, if you don't have the kirsch. 

GLAZE: I chose to use melted chocolate but if you want, you can see the original chocolate glaze recipe HERE... I just didn't want to add any extra sugar for mine.

Melted dark chocolate


Make the Cookie Dough: 
1. In the bowl of a mixer bowl add 1⁄2 cup flour, softened butter, and confectioners' sugar. Using the paddle attachment beat on medium speed until very light and fluffy( almost the consistecy of frosting)... about 5 minutes or so.... I might have left mine for a bit longer:). Original recipe has you beat it for only 1-2 minutes. I like the longer beating time, felt it makes the cookies be extra light and tender.   
2. Add yolks... one at a time. Beat until smooth after each addition. Add vanilla, if using. Mix to combine.
3. Add salt and remaining flour; beat to make a dough. Halve the dough, then flatten into 2 disks. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.... or overnight, which is what I ended up doing.

Preheat oven to 325 deg. F

1. Transfer 1 dough disk to a lightly floured surface and roll with a floured rolling pin to a 1⁄8-1/4" thickness. If you've left the dough in the fridge longer than 1 hour, then you might let it soften slightly on the countertop...  but you still want the dough to be cold and firm. The warmer the dough is the harder it is to roll... it will stick too much.

optional: to make the lines on each cookie, I used the back of fork to "drag" it across the rolled out cookie dough, making sure you  just slightly score it... don't make the scoring too deep or the cookies can break later on after they've been baked. 

2.  Using a 1 3⁄4" round cookie cutter, cut out  about 24 cookies. Repeat with remaining dough disk. You will need to combine and reroll scraps so that you have about 48 cookies total. The number really depends on the size of your cookie cutter.... so if you are using a smaller/bigger cutter you just want to make sure you have an even pair of cookies.  
3. Place cookies 1" apart on 2 parchment paper–lined baking sheets and bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cookies are pale golden, about 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness of the cookie. Do check on them as they can burn quickly towards the end. Let cool.

TIP: You can roll the filling in a log(size a little less in circumference than the cookie), and then when you assemble the cookies, you can just slice the filling into rounds and place between two cookies.

Make the Filling:

1. In the bowl of a food processor, process the pistachios with the sugar until finely ground. Add the almond paste and process until fully combined. 
2. Add the kirsch( or pomegranate molasses, as in my case)... and the vanilla.  Process until combined; set filling aside. I made this the day before, wrapped it well, and refrigerated it. 

Assemble the Cookies:

1. Spoon about 1 tsp. of the filling onto 24 cookies and top with remaining cookies. Very gently press cookies together to sandwich them. The cookies are fragile so they can break quickly.
2. Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate. Transfer to a parchment paper/plastic wrapped plater. Let set...  I placed mine in the refrigerator after they sat out a bit. Even froze some, after the chocolate hardened. Defrosted them the next day and they were delicious! 


Susy said...

These cookies look so delicious, but also look like take a lot of hard work to do them! I love pistachios in cookies!

Ellie said...

Susy, The cookies aren't that difficult to make, really. Maybe it's the long post and pictures that make it look more difficult than it really is:). Hope you can give them a try. They're a delightful cookie!

Thanks for stopping by...

siggy said...

I love this cookie idea. I can taste it already. Thank you for sharing your blogging history and your food awakening. Mine just started and I understand your early struggles, since I am dealing with them. I seem to be paralleling you, not just with blogging, but with enjoying food the way it should be and not processed. So glad I found your blog.

Ellie said...

Siggy, You know, we really liked this cookie... a different sort of cookie,. Sort of reminded me of those buttery danish cookies with a fruit and nut filling between. I've even thought to make a dried fruit and nut filling( sort of like a homemade larabar) and this way I could replace the refined sugar with natural fruit sugar.
I still have lots to learn... in the kitchen and with the blog. But when it comes to the food we eat, I just feel a ton better knowing what goes in my food... granted there are those days when I still crave what I shouldn't:)...
I'm so glad you stopped by and commented earlier... now I enjoy reading your recipes as well:)... and you got me to try farro:)! Yes, I found it...

Ashleyta said...

It has been a joy following your blog! I'm so glad you didn't give up when you felt discouraged...congrats on an amazing journey and may God bless your cooking w/ tons more adventures. Love you lots!

Ellie said...

Ashleyta, Awww... thanks for your sweet and kind words! I still remember your advice to continue when I felt discouraged... I think it was a year or 2 ago. So, thank YOU!
And thanks for having the same passion for food as I do... always love talking about food and new recipes with you:).

Thanks for stopping by and appreciate you talking the time to comment.... love you!

Eman said...

Congratulations! I am proud of you. I know first hand how difficult it is to continue writing and to be committed to a project. It is quite an accomplishment and I have enjoyed following along. Next Stop: Food Network.

Ellie said...

Eman, Awww... Thanks a bunch. Super-sweet of you to stop by!
I can't forget how you sent me a package of super-fresh sushi quality fish and seafood overnight!.... so that I could make my own sushi at home:).... Thanks for being a part of my culinary journey and being so kind! Lots of love to you and the fam...

Mihaela said...

Ma numar si eu printre cele care te urmaresc. Bravo tie pentru perseverenta! Intr-adevar, nu e usor sa faci si sa tii chiar si un blog.
La cat mai multi ani si cat mai multe retete bune !

Ellie said...

Oh, Mihaela... Esti o scumpa! Multumesc mult pentru cuvintele tale pline de incurajare, si mai ales ca inca ma vizitezi:).... chiar iti simt lipsa pe blog! Stiu ca toata slava merita Domnului, si nimica ce am facut eu.
Iti doresc si tie si intreaga familiei binecuvantari ceresti!

Daniela said...

Wow, Ellie! Has it really been 4 years & 400 recipes?!! (Also, before I forget...had to share this thought: hubba-bubba, I think I just found my recipe for the Christmas Cookie Exchange this year - Amadeus Cookies! :) (I used a recipe from your blog last year, too.) =0)

Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to share all of these wonderful recipes. You are such a tremendous blessing!!! I love reading your personal notes, and love the variety of recipes you post, as well as the fact that they are tried & true, and come with helpful hints...doesn't get much better than that! =0)

May the Lord richly, richly bless you for your willingness to share what you learn with others.

Love you lots and miss you lots too...!


Ellie said...

Hi Daniela! Aww... thanks a bunch! Always happy to hear from you! And thank you for your sweet, sweet comment... made my day! The LORD always sends blessings along my way as well... through people like you:)! So thank YOU for trying out some of the recipes.

So thrilled that you found a cookie to make for the cookie exchange:)... we actually really like this cookie:). I've been baking lots of cookies lately and found a few other favorites in the process:). I'm hoping to one day sit down and blog about them.

Thank you again for stopping by and just taking the time to comment. Means a TON!

Have a great blessed week!

Oh, I'm hoping you will like this cookie as well:)