I just gave a TBT review of a classic Italian dessert cookbook: La Dolce Vita by Michele Scicolone. You can still find copies and I suggest you do. The 170 recipes span every dessert you might imagine and Michele rewards us in authentic and delicious ideas for our sweet tooths.

No, I don’t have a picture of these two cookies. I do have the picture of Romeo and Juliet. You can easily imagine the play. Let me help you imagine the cookies.  Romeo’s Kisses are a sandwich cookie: two soft butter cookies with a layer of chocolate and almond filling. The filling is the same for Juliet’s Kisses, but I find I really love the cocoa cookie used for Juliet. There is a doubling down of chocolate here that you feel all the way in the back of your throat. That’s the power of cocoa.

Both cookies are made with confectioners’ sugar which contains cornstarch. That cornstarch makes the cookies remarkably soft. They disintegrate at first bite, letting a stream of flavor enter your mouth. Seductive. Ah, Romeo and Juliet.


Romeo’s Kisses

Yield: makes about 42

Ingredients:

For the cookie:

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup 1lanched almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the salt and almond extract. On low speed, beat in the flour just until blended.

Roll teaspoonfuls of the dough into ¾-inch balls. Place about l inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake the cookies until firm but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

To make the filling: In a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the chocolate and butter, and heat until softened. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Stir in the almonds.

Spread about 1 teaspoon of the chocolate mixture on the bottom of one cookie. Place a second cookie bottom side down on the filling and press together lightly. Place on a wire rack until the filling is set, and repeat with the remaining cookies and filling.


Juliet’s Kisses

Yield: makes about 48

Ingredients:

For the cookie:

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • ½ cup finely chopped toasted almonds

For the filling:

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup 1lanched almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the salt and vanilla. On low speed, beat in the flour just until blended.

Roll teaspoonfuls of the dough into ¾-inch balls. Place about l inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake the cookies until firm but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

To make the filling: In a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the chocolate and butter, and heat until softened. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Stir in the almonds.

Spread about 1 teaspoon of the chocolate mixture on the bottom of one cookie. Place a second cookie bottom side down on the filling and press together lightly. Place on a wire rack until the filling is set, and repeat with the remaining cookies and filling.


Source: La Dolce Vita by Michele Scicolone [HarperPerennial, 1993]