photo credit: Studio A17
I’ve made a lot of cookies over the years. I mean, a LOT. All different kinds with different techniques, tips and tricks. Some are easy as can be and others lean toward the more complicated but worth the effort. Never, in all my years of cookie baking had I come across the use of hard boiled egg yolks in a recipe. I was skeptical at first - egg salad cookies just don’t sound all that appealing - but let me tell you, those egg yolks made these delicate little jam cookies absolutely amazing! They melt in your mouth and are light and airy. I filled them with an apricot jam. Of course my daughter thought they would be better with Nutella filling so we tried that too. Quite delicious (but obviously not exactly “light” anymore).
Regarding the unusual name of these cookies: those of you who studied Latin will be thrilled to know that it is not a dead language. Ovis Mollis means soft (or fluffy) sheep, which could refer to the fluffy texture of these cookies. Thanks, Mr. Simms, for four years of Latin grammar and literature. It’s all come back to this!
From the website: www.ztastylife.com (original recipe by Giuseppe Ciocca,“Il Pasticcere e Confettiere Moderno”, 1907—Italy)
(Yields about 55-60 cookies)
1-1/2 cups (200 g) all purpose flour, unbleached + extra to roll the dough
3/4 cup (100 g) potato starch or cornstarch
1 pinch of salt
14 tbsp (200 g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar (confectioners’ is best but regular will do)
5 hard-boiled yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I like to add grated lemon and/or orange zest instead)
Optional: apricot jam (about half a jar) and honey (about 2-3 Tbsps) to fill
Place the flour and starch in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well mixed. Add the butter, diced, and pulse until the mixtture looks like wet sand. Add the sugar and pulse until well incorporated. Add the yolks, and pulse until they are crumbled. Add the vanilla extract (or lemon and/or orange zest), and pulse until the dough forms (it might take a few seconds, and it might look like the mixture is too dry, but if the machine keeps working the dough will eventually form. Gather the dough in a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap and leave to rest in a cool place (not the refrigerator).
Preheat the oven to 325°F
Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface. Roll out some thin logs, cut in pieces and roll into small balls. I then push your finger in the middle to make an indentation (just like making thumbprint cookies).
Bake for about 10-12 minutes, taking care that the cookies do not darken. (If you made the small balls with indentation, at the 8 minute mark, check to see that they are still there. If they are not pull the tray out and make indentations again).
Let the cookies cool on a rack. They are extremely fragile while hot, and they will fall apart if removed from the pans while hot.
Once the cookies are cool sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. If you made the balls, now is the time to fill the indentations with with a mixture of jam and honey. Store in airtight containers.