Excelsior cookies, also called dessert cookies, are delicious, very crumbly butter cookies filled with almond paste and apricot jam.
They are a typical Sicilian dessert, born in the kitchens of ancient convents, and now found in the windows of any bar, bakery or pastry shop on the island.
Half coated in a mouth-watering dark chocolate glaze, delicate and elegant in their presentation, they are excellent to accompany tea or coffee.
An easy recipe that can also be made at home to impress family and friends.
For the dough:
- 2 +1/3 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 cup of butter
- 1+1/4 cup of icing sugar
- 1 egg
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup of almond flour
- 3/8 cup of icing sugar
- 5 tsp of vegetable margarine
- 1/4 cup of apricot jam
- 1 tsp of bitter almond extract (or vanilla extract)
- food coloring to taste (optional)
For the icing:
- 1 cup of dark chocolate
- 3 tbsp of vegetable margarine
Whip the softened butter with the powdered sugar and one egg.
Using a spatula, incorporate the sifted flour into the mixture a little at a time.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a 12-mm (0.47 inches) star-shaped nozzle and on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, form elongated cookies about 7 cm (2.75 inches) long or circles.
Bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes.
In a bowl combine the almond flour, sugar, margarine, apricot jam, bitter almond essence, and food coloring, if you want to make the filling colorful, and mix until you have a smooth dough that is easy to work with your hands.
Place some of this dough between two cookies making a slight pressure so that they stick together.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and margarine in a double boiler, soak half of the already-filled cookies and place them to dry on a sheet of baking paper.
When the chocolate has solidified place them on a tray or in a cookie container.