For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the pink leaf cookies with the chocolate sandwich middles that you get at Italian bakeries and sometimes in the gourmet cookie assortments at the grocery store if you are lucky. These cookies come in pink and green sandwiches in the exact same leaf shape, and they have a layer of chocolate holding them together. I believe the pink cookie is a strawberry flavor and the green cookie is supposed to be pistachio, I THINK. For almost as long as I’ve loved these cookies, I’ve been desperate to learn how to make them. I’ve scoured the Web and asked chefs and others I know who love to bake. Always coming up empty handed, I thought about reverse engineering the cookie with a basic Italian butter cookie recipe. I found a pretty good amount of success with this method.
WARNING: STOP reading here if you might be disappointed in learning of a possibly different origin for these scrumptious cookies other than the quaint Italian bakeries of your childhood or the pleasant Italian women you’ve pictured baking these from scratch —
Okay, you’ve been warned… I also, through my research, came up with a new theory that the pink and green leaf sandwich cookies might be a product of a company that mass produces them for sale at bakeries and so forth. Sort of like a Nabisco or Keebler, but more upscale and more “white label.”
Again, just my suspicion, but it would certainly explain why a recipe is so hard to come by! And also why, no matter what brand, store, or model, I cannot find quite the right leaf shape cookie cutter or cookie gun with leaf shaped disks.
From a previous blog post I wrote, I’ve received a few requests for my version of the pink leaf bakery cookie recipe, so here goes nothing! If you try it, please let me know in the comments what you thought and if you have any improvements or modifications that may be useful to other people.
Unofficial Italian Bakery Pink Leaf Cookies Recipe:
1/2 pound butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp strawberry extract, or to taste
2 & 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Red food coloring
(Yields 40 cookies, depending on size. I usually double the recipe. When you need two cookies per sandwich, the recipe doesn’t stretch very far…)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using an electric mixer (my favorite), cream the butter and sugar until super fluffy (around 3 minutes or so).
- Add eggs and strawberry extract and mix until blended completely.
- On the lowest speed, add in the flour, baking powder, and pinch of salt.
- Mix the dough just until it’s blended. Avoid overmixing.
- Add in a few drops of red food coloring and mix with spoon until blended. Adjust to your desired shade of pink.
- Fill your cookie gun (cookie press) or roll out a handful of dough for use with cookie cutters.
- Attempt to make equal numbers of the same shape of cookies – for example, I have used the Wilton Cookie Pro Ultra II Cookie Press as well as the Wilton Leaves and Acorns Cookie Cutter Set, although you can find other cookie cutter options as well. You will need pairs of cookies to make the little sandwiches. Space them apart by about two inches on your cookie sheets.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown.
- Cool on cooling rack.
- Heat about 1/3 of a bag of semisweet chocolate chips in a glass measuring cup. Be careful not to overheat – I put mine in for 60 seconds followed by another 10 seconds, mixing in between.
- Using a spoon or other utensil, spread the melted chocolate on the bottom of one cookie and press the other half together so they stick.
- Place on a sheet of wax paper inside a plastic container.
- Repeat for all cookies until done.
- Place container inside refrigerator for about 10 to 20 minutes to “set” the chocolate. This way the chocolate won’t melt and smear as much as it otherwise might.
- Enjoy and share your cookies and this pink leaf cookie recipe with family and friends!
Please let me know what you think of this recipe if you decide to try it! I would be glad to use your comments to further improve the recipe for our readers, myself, my family, and friends. Also, if you’ve attempted the green leaf cookies, please share as well. Thanks, and happy baking!