Viennese Punch Cookies

READY IN: 1hr 5mins


  • For the dough
  • 16
    tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1
    cup almonds, slivered, finely ground in the food processor (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 12
    cups flour, plus more for the work surface (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • For the filling
  • 13
    cup apricot preserves, strained
  • 2
    ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2
    tablespoons dark rum (may substitute strained apricot preserves, see headnote)
  • 2
    teaspoons orange zest, finely grated
  • 2
    teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
  • For the icing
  • 2
    cups confectioners' sugar, sifted after measuring
  • 2
    tablespoons dark rum (may substitute strained apricot preserves, see headnote)
  • 2
    teaspoons water
  • 1
    drop liquid red food coloring


  • Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • For the dough: Combine the butter and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft and light. Add the ground almonds and mix well.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large spatula to incorporate the flour, mixing until the dough is smooth. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it; divide into 3 equal portions.
  • Lightly flour the dough, then gently roll it to about 3/8-inch thick. Use a plain round cookie cutter to cut out 2- to 2 1/2-inch cookies and place them, spaced 1 inch apart, on the prepared pans. Reserve the scraps from cutting the cookies in a bowl.
  • Roll and cut the remaining 2 pieces of dough, reserving the scraps from the rolling and cutting with the others. There should be 48 cookie rounds.
  • Bake the cookies for 7 to 8 minutes, until they are firm and dull-looking, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back 1/2 way through. (If you know that your oven gives strong bottom heat, use a third baking sheet to insulate the one on the lower rack.) Slide the parchment papers off the baking sheets to cool the cookies.
  • Arrange the dough scraps in a single layer on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet. While the cookie rounds are cooling, bake on the middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes, until firm, then cool the scraps on a wire rack.
  • For the filling: Break up the cooled scraps and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to grind coarsely. Add the preserves, melted chocolate, rum, and orange and lemon zests; pulse until the filling holds a soft shape.
  • To fill the cookies, turn 24 of the cookies over so that the flattest (bottom) sides are facing up. Spread a little less than 1 tablespoon of the filling on each cookie to within 1/8 inch of the edge. Top with the remaining cookies, placing them bottom side down on the filling and gently pressing the two cookies together.
  • For the icing: Combine the confectioners' sugar, rum, water and food coloring in a medium saucepan; stir until smooth. Place over low heat and cook for several minutes, until it is just lukewarm (about 110 degrees measured on an instant-read thermometer). Use a small offset spatula to spread a thin coat of the icing on top of each cookie. Let set completely before storing or serving.