These mini cakes are a huge crowd pleaser. They’re pretty and so delicious.
While I’ve always baked these at 350°F (175°C) without any issues, I now have a different oven and I need to bake these at a lower temperature to avoid all of the cookies cracking. I now bake them at 320-330F (160-165C). If you’re unsure what to do, bake a test batch first by placing 6 cookie balls on a baking sheet and baking at 350F. You’re good to go, if they come out smooth. But if all come out cracked, try a lower temperature.
You don’t need a lot of food dye for these cookies. Mix water, rum, peach liquor or peach syrup or juice with 1-3 drops of coloring, depending on the brand and intensity. You can also mix the coloring into a combination of water and different extracts (or flavorings), like strawberry or lemon or peach. All 3 fit this cookie well. (I’ve tried LorAnn oils which are extremely concentrated and a single drop already gives a lot of flavor.)
The food colors I most often use in all my recipes are from Rainbow Dust and Wilton. I hear people have great experiences with Americolor and McCormick too.
I’ve experimented with natural (homemade) food dyes but none gave these peaches enough color. My goal was to make “white peaches” which are pinkish and white, while regular peaches are more red and yellow in color. The one thing I haven’t tried yet is beet powder. Its vibrant pink color could do the trick, so you can always try this too instead of using artificial coloring (and I promise to update you all on this as soon as I try this version myself).
Personally, for this recipe, I use a strawberry flavored dye that I buy locally (don’t think it’s sold outside of Slovenia). It’s a vibrant coral pink that I dilute with water, but you can achieve the same effect with your classic food dyes – go for pink, red, coral types.
The fastest trick for me is this: I put the butter in a 500ml (1 pint) Pyrex measuring jug and melt it in the microwave in 10-20 second increments. Once it’s almost completely melted, I take it out and keep stirring it with a spoon, until it cools to room temperature.
As you fill these cookies, make sure you put in enough filling – it needs to reach the edge of the hole you made into the cookie. Once you press the two halves together, some of the filling will come out. This is good as it is the glue that keeps the two cookies together and you just need to wipe away any filling that sticks out of the “peach”. Also know that while you are filling and coloring the cookies, the ricotta filling will get warm and consequently softer. This is why you need to chill these cookies before you serve them. The ricotta needs time to set.
This recipe is adapted from a family recipe and from Southern Italian Desserts.
Keywords: holiday cookies, traditional dessert