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Recipe  •  28 June 2024

 

Butter Cookies

Where would an Italian cookie tray be without these?

After the ubiquitous tri-color cookie, these might be the most iconic fixture of Italian American bakeries, found in an array of guises: rounds with a candied cherry in the middle, or dyed pink or green and in the shape of a leaf. This straightforward version has always been my favorite. Two buttery cookies sandwich a raspberry jam filling, then the tip of the cookie gets dipped in chocolate and covered in rainbow sprinkles. (This qualifies as “straightforward” in Italian American baking.) Once you get this cookie base down pat, feel free to play with shapes, colors, fillings, and toppings to load up your own personal cookie tray.

Makes: 30 sandwich cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 355g (2½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2g (½ tsp) fine sea salt
  • 3g (½ tsp) baking powder
  • 225g (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g (¾ cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 5g (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract
  • 170g (½ cup) raspberry preserves
  • 225g (8oz) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 25g (2 tbsp) rainbow spirinkles

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and set racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder.

  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla, and mix until incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. Reduce the speed to medium and continue mixing until well combined and fluffy. Add the flour mixture in two parts and mix, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. Increase the speed to high for 30 seconds for a final mix.

  4. Transfer the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheets in strips 21/2 inches (6 cm) long with 2 inches (5 cm) between the cookies. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill before baking.

  5. Bake until the edges are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, switching racks and rotating the sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Reserve the lined baking sheets.

  6. Flip half of the cookies so that the flat sides are facing up. Transfer the raspberry preserves to a small piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe a thin line down the center of the flat-side up cookies, about 1/2 teaspoon per cookie. Top with the remaining cookies to sandwich, pressing gently so the jam doesn’t spill out.

  7. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Set a medium bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Add the chopped dark chocolate to the bowl and use a silicone spatula to stir occasionally as the chocolate melts. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Dip one end of the cookies in the chocolate at a 45- degree angle. Immediately sprinkle the chocolate with rainbow sprinkles, then arrange on the lined baking sheets to set, about 30 minutes at room temperature or 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

  8. The butter cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Feature Title

Dolci!
Recipes that capture the flavors of la dolce vita, from Bologna to Brooklyn—Italian and Italian American-ish cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries, from the James Beard Award–nominated brains behind one of America’s best bakeries
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