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Aug 5, 2000 02:03 AM

Ischler Cookies in NYC/LI area?

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I just read a past posting which mentioned the old Louis Lichtman bakery (was on 86th & Amsterdam - now extinct). This jogged my memory: When I was a kid, I used to go there regularly for their delicious Ischler cookie.

I say "cookie" -- singular -- because the thing was big and weighed a good 1/3 pound; it was not something you bought in quantity, but rather one at a time, like a rich pastry. They would put it in a small pastry box (as would normally accomodate one large-size Napolean), and the 5-6" diameter x 1" thick cookie would rest on an angle in the box, because it was too wide to fit flat.

An Ischler cookie (at least, the Lichtman version) was made of two 1/2" thick, crumbly butter cookies (sort of like shortbread, but neither as heavily shortened nor as dry) sandwiched together with a thick layer of apricot filling, and covered all over (except for the bottom) with a thick layer of sweet dark chocolate icing.

This is not to be confused with the Linzertorte/Linzer cookie, which has a hole in the top cookie, no chocolate icing, and is sprinkled with powdered sugar.
(The Linzers I've tried have all been hard and dry, with meager amounts of filling.)

Ischler cookies are Austrian in origin, but Lichtman's was a Hungarian bakery. This may explain why, when I looked up a recipe for Ischler cookies, they where described as light, airy almond cookies (almond? I don't remember tasting almond) with apricot filling and a thin chocolate glaze -- nothing resembling the chocolate-drenched wonder-bricks of my youth.

Does anybody know where to get the Lichtman-style version, as I have described here?

P.S.-- Many years ago, after Lichtman's closed, I had tried one from another Hungarian bakery in Manhattan's East '80s (i.e.-Germantown) -- but it was very disappointing, not at all as I'd remembered. It was a dry, hard, shrunken thing, coated with cheap chocolate icing... practically flavorless.

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    1. re: Jim Leff

      Wow... this 4th recipe link looks like it's very close to what I remember, if not a dead ringer! Thanks, Jim!

      I had looked up recipes for Ischler cookies before, but most of them seemed to be for the wrong kind of cookie.

      For example, one of these recipe links is for Linzer tarts -- even though the recipe is titled "Ischler Platzchen"; and another of the links describes cookies which are extremely fragile (the kind I remember could almost have been used as hockey pucks).

      I even found an Austrian website (not on your list) with an Ischler recipe that calls for a lemon glaze instead of chocolate. That sounded strange to me -- but who knows, that might be the authentic Ischler. The kind that I remember were probably a bastardized version. Even so: what magnificent bastards! :-)

      1. re: Eli

        I'd be thrilled if that recipe worked for you, Eli. Please report back! In fact, if you can get a photo of the cookies you bake, we can get it up on the 'Net so you can include it with your message!!

        (email me for technical's not complicated)


    2. I've been searching for a long time for a bakery that
      makes Ischlers. I was lived on West 87th street
      and regularly got these great cookies. I moved
      to New Jersey in the early sixties, but on
      visits to NYC, I would buy a bunch of these
      to take home. Every xmas , I ask my wife to
      make some and sometimes she reluctantly does
      (shes not a baker). She uses the recipe found on

      with good results.

      If anyone finds a place that makes them, let me

      Jim Bergman