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Lilla's peach cookies

My mom's recipe for making approximately 30 Italian peach cookies, which refers more to the shape than the flavor. These cookies are traditionally served during special occasions like weddings, bridal showers, and holidays such as Christmas. Recipe can be doubled
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting time for cookie dough and cooling of pastry cream 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours
Servings 30 pastries
Calories 320kcal
Author Marie

Equipment

  • Standing mixer
  • wire whisk attachment
  • dough paddle attachment
  • cookie or baking sheets
  • parchment paper or silicone baking sheet
  • small knife with pointed tip to carve cookies
  • bowls for dunking cookies

Ingredients

To make the cookie dough

  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder

To make the flavored syrup for dipping

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water divided (1 cup and 1 cup)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 medium orange peel only
  • 1 medium lemon peel only
  • 1 box peach flavored jello
  • 1/2 tsp red food coloring more as needed
  • peach liquor optional (I didn't use)

To make the vanilla pastry cream

  • 4 cups milk
  • 3.5 tbsp sugar (sugar 1)
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 7 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup sugar (sugar 2)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup peach liquor optional but highly recommended

To construct the cookies and decorate them

  • 1 cup sugar I use regular ole granulated sugar, but may try colored sugar in the future
  • 30 leaves (real or artificial)

Instructions

To make the cookie dough

  • Optional but highly recommended to measure out all the ingredients first and set aside
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, add eggs and sugar and beat with whisk attachment for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy
  • add the oil all at once and mix until blended
  • add the milk and mix until blended
  • Combine the baking powder with the flour and then add to the mixing bowl with egg mixture and combine until very soft dough forms (see photo)
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours

To bake the cookies and carve the cookies

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with silicone baking sheet or parchment paper
  • Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, portion dough into approximately 60 to 64 cookies. The shape should be round with a slightly flattened top (see photo)
  • please note that this is a sticky dough! use cooking spray to help prevent dough from sticking to hands when forming cookies
  • bake in oven for about 25 to 28 minutes. Note that these cookies are intentionally overbaked so that they can withstand the dipping step and not fall apart. That said, do not burn the cookies! They should have a golden color.
  • After cookies are baked, carve them while they are still warm.
  • The cookies should be cool enough to handle but still warm enough to allow carving. If they are cool, the cookies will be more likely to break when you try to carve the bottom out
  • Using a small knife with a pointed tip, carve out the bottom (see photo) so that they can be filled with pastry cream.
  • After all cookies have been carved, store them in a sealed container until ready to fill and decorate

To make the cream filling

  • Note that this recipe makes a little more cream than needed; the extra pastry cream is delicious enjoyed alone!
  • Also note that the sugar is divided, so please use sugar number 1 in first part of recipe and sugar number 2 in second part as described below
  • Combine milk and sugar number 1 in a medium sized sauce pan/pot and heat until slightly boiling over medium high heat
  • In the meantime, combine the cornstarch with sugar number 2 and then add to the eggs and mix well but do not introduce too much air
  • After milk come to slight boil, pour about 1/3 of it into the egg/sugar/cornstarch mixture while whisking vigorously
  • Return this egg mixture back to the pot containing the remaining milk/sugar mixture and heat over medium high heat for 2 minutes while whisking constantly. Mixture will become very thick. Whisk well continuously and make sure to stir the bottom of pot and bottom edges of pot to avoid scorching
  • Remove pot from stove, add butter, and stir well until all butter is melted
  • If using liquor, add to finished cream and combine well.
  • Cover with plastic wrap (ensure the top of the cream is in direct contact with plastic wrap or film will develop)
  • Cool and then store in the refrigerator until ready to use

To make the flavored dipping syrup

  • Add 1 cup of water, sugar, lemon and orange peels, cinnamon stick, peach jello, and vanilla extract to a pan and set over the stove. Heat and stir over medium flame for about 5 minutes
  • Add a bit of the red food coloring (one drop at a time), and stir until desired color is achieved.
  • Remove mixture/pan from flame and add remaining cup of water to dilute the mixture and cool it down a bit.
  • Optional, add peach liquor to taste (add 2 tablespoons at a time and taste as you go)

To fill and decorate the cookies

  • Organize an area for decorating cookies
  • Set out everything you'll need: the carved cookies, the dipping syrup for dipping, and the pastry cream to fill the cookies. You may also need some paper towels to wipe up if the syrup drips. You will also need a baking tray lined with parchment or aluminum foil.
  • We typically dip, fill, and put together one cookie at a time.
  • Although most cookies should be similar in size, it might help to match up 2 cookies before proceeding to the dip, fill stage
  • Dip 2 cookies (I dunk them three times), let excess syrup drip off, then fill each half with pastry cream and join the cookies together like a sandwich. Wipe excess cream that may ooze out with finger and place on nonstick paper lined baking sheet. Note that you should use a small and deep container to dip the cookies as the syrup starts to run low to make things easier.
  • Continue until all the cookies are dipped, filled and joined together
  • place the tray of cookies in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or so until they have dried slightly and then sprinkle with sugar (NOT powdered sugar but regular granulated sugar) and insert leaves to decorate. We use a sugar shaker but you can sprinkle with tablespoon.

Storage instructions

  • Cookies can be made 3 or 4 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. They do not need to be covered as they should be quite moist and are not subject to drying out quickly.
  • Pastry cream can be made ahead and stored for 2 days
  • More tips on making pastry cream here
  • It is not recommended to freeze pastry cream (see explanation in link above); however, you may freeze cookies ahead of time and then fill and decorate a day before needed.

Notes

  • I like to make this recipe over 2 days
  • Suggested schedule:
    • Day 1: make, bake, and carve the cookies. Also, make the pastry cream
    • Day 2: make the dipping syrup, and then fill and decorate the cookies.
  • You will have some left over pastry cream, which can be eaten like pudding. (I had about 1 lb left)
  • Dough is sticky! Have cooking spray onhand and spray hands if needed to prevent sticking when you are forming the cookies
  • The cookies are intentionally a bit overbaked so that they can absorb the dipping syrup and so that they don't fall apart when doing so.
  • Carve out the bottom of the cookie while it is still warm so that you reduce the chance of breaking the cookies
  • Before the final step of sprinkling sugar on the finished cookies, you should let them dry a bit in the refrigerator or else the sugar will simply melt away. Let dry for about 1 to 2 hours and then sprinkle with sugar. A sugar shaker really helps but is not necessary

Nutrition

Serving: 1pastry | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 163mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 303IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 2mg