Spelt flour Occhi di Bue Cookies are delicious Italian shortbread cookies. They consist of two overlapping round biscuits with a filling in the middle, of which the upper one has a smaller circle cut out so the filling is visible, and that resembles an ox’s eye, hence the name. They are very popular and beloved, you can find them in any Italian bakery and pastry shop. Here I made a variation to the pasta frolla using spelt flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, which give a golden color and a delightful fragrant crumb.
- 200 g organic spelt flour
- 80 g brown sugar (or cane sugar)
- 80 g unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 large egg, organic, free-range
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of baking soda
- apricot jam, for the filling
- 80–100 g dark chocolate, melted, to dip one side of the cookies
- chocolate spread, for the filling
- icing (powdered sugar), for the topping
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the sugar and butter and evenly mix.
- Add the egg and mix.
- Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until it just comes together.
- Place it on a work surface, shape it into a ball, then press it down to flatten. Wrap it in plastic and set it in the fridge to rest for two hours.
- After that time, unwrap the dough, lightly flour both sides and roll it between two sheets of parchment paper to a thickness of half a cm and cut out as many shapes as you can with a round cutter (smooth or with scalloped edges) 2.5 inches diameter, re-rolling the pastry leftovers to make more. Cut half of them in the middle with a smaller round cutter (1-inch) to make the upper circle.
- Once the shapes are cut, with the help of an offset spatula, lift the shapes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and set in the fridge to chill for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Adjust the rack to the center position.
- Bake one baking sheet at a time until the cookies turn a light golden color at the edges, about 8-10 minutes (watch them carefully).
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Occhi di Bue with apricot jam and chocolate:
- Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the apricot jam onto a solid cookie base and spread a little toward the edges. Top with the cut-out cookie top, making sure not to press down too hard (the filling should not ooze out the sides or center of the cookie).
- Melt the dark chocolate on a bain-marie. Dip half of the sandwich cookie in the melted chocolate. Set on a baking sheet to cool.
Occhi di Bue with chocolate filling:
- Sprinkle some of the cut-out cookie tops with powdered sugar and set aside.
- Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the chocolate spread onto a solid cookie base and spread a little toward the edges. Top with the cut-out cookie top, making sure not to press down too hard (the filling should not ooze out the sides or center of the cookie).
Occhi di Bue cookies keep in a tin box, or airtight container, for a week at most, losing a bit of their crunch as days pass.
The prep time includes the resting time in the fridge.