Last weekend, I was a bridesmaid in a wedding that joined two wonderful Italian families. From the bridal shower to the rehearsal dinner, to the wedding itself - Italian culinary fare & culture was ever present & ever delicious.
Being an Italian myself, I was familiar with basically all of it - chicken parmigiana, ziti, fish, risotto, eclairs, macaroons, sfogliatelle. But there was one wonderful cookie that I had never had before. Pesche (Italian for "peaches"). And boy, did I fall hard in amore with this cookie.
It is an Italian cookie typically made for special occasions, weddings in particular, because of its complex & time consuming nature. They are named peaches, because they resemble the fruit when complete. The cookie actually consists of two individual cookies that have been "glued" together with a chocolate filling, and then dipped in peach brandy and sugar.
After much research, I have found that the exact recipe and filling for this cookie varies greatly. Some people fill this cookie with peach preserves or plum jam, but you know I had to go the chocolate route.
Although time consuming, each step in this process is very simple and overall, the ingredients are not complex. They are worth the work (and the calories).
Recipe & more pictures after the break...
Pesche - Italian Wedding Cookies
2 C. Sugar
2 C. Vegetable Oil
8 C. Flour
2 Tbsp. Baking Powder
2 Hershey's Dark Chocolate Bars - 4.4 oz bars
Peach Preserves (3 tbsp
1/2 tsp. Rum (or Rum extract)
To cover cookie:
3/4 C. Peach Brandy
Red & Yellow Food Coloring
3/4 C. Granulated Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease cookie sheets (or line with Silpats - my favorite baking accessory).
Mix together sugar, eggs and oil in a standing mixer with a dough hook. Add baking powder, then flour.
Roll 1" balls & place 12 at a time on the cookie sheet. Make sure the cookies are all roughly the same size as they'll need to fit together later to make a peach half. Make sure cookie bottoms are flat and top is slightly rounded.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until bottoms are slightly golden. While cookies are still warm, use a melon baller to create a small divot in the bottom of each cookie.
While the cookies cool, make the filling. Break the dark chocolate into pieces and microwave in a microwave safe bowl for 30 second increments, stirring in between, until chocolate is fully melted. Add in peach preserves & rum (extract). Stir thoroughly.
Take two similar sized cookies, and using a teaspoon, spoon the chocolate mixture in to each cookie's divot. Press cookies together. The chocolate will act like glue to hold them together. Set aside on wax paper to dry. Continue until all cookies have been paired up & "glued" together with the chocolate mixture.
Pour peach brandy into a bowl & mix with yellow & red food coloring until you create a light "peach" color. Pour granulated sugar in to a separate bowl & use yellow & red food coloring to create a light "peach" color. Using a barbecue brush, cover each "peach" cookie with the brandy and then complete cover with sugar. Set aside on wax paper to dry.
...Voila! Peach Cookies complete. Serve on a plate or bag each cookie individually. This recipe will make about 50 complete "peaches." I made my cookies about 1.5" in diameter, so I came out with about 3 dozen cookies.
These cookies were given as favors at the rehearsal dinner, and as I always say, edible favors are the best kind of all. Share with those you love, and they will love you back ten fold.
Summer might be over, but now you can enjoy peaches all year long!