Amaro Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Amaro Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Two of my favorite flavors are bitter amaro and sweet shortbread cookies, so I decided to combine them in this bittersweet little sandwich! The color contrast of the bright red amaro and buttery yellow shortbread works so well together for a holiday cookie! The amaro jelly comes out really bitter as expected, but it’s a thin layer between the buttery sweet cookies so there is a perfect balance.

The inspiration for these cookies

For some reason I had the desire to make a sandwich cookie with a hole in it to see the filling. Not sure where this came from but it was a craving and I was brainstorming different fillings for a while. Colorful was my main requirement but I obviously wanted it to be unique. I asked Georgina what she thought for fillings and without hesitation she said espresso martini. I said I liked it but was hoping for red or green. Then she said amaro. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that myself!

Next I had to make amaro jelly. I wanted it to be jelly texture not jello, so I initially planned to use pectin. Unfortunately I learned that pectin doesn’t work great with alcohol so I went back to gelatin. Thankfully I looked it up first because that would have been an expensive mistake! I added a little extra gelatin so it would be a tight jello mix, then smashed it up into a jelly-like texture and it worked great in these amaro Shortbread Sandwich Cookies.

Make the shortbread cookies

Just a typical shortbread cookie recipe. I made a bunch extra so I could snack!

forming the dough

The only thing I had to make the holes was a metal straw and I kept having to blow the cookie dough out from the end of the straw after each cookie. (and wash the straw obviously) Someone on Instagram said these looked like bowling balls so there’s that. I was sort of going for the sparkle emoji that has 4 little diamonds. I wanted the bright red amaro to shine through the shortbread sandwich cookies.

cookies on the baking sheet

Only half need the holes, the other half are the bottoms. Frida is always interested in what is going on, but especially if there is food!

Making the amaro jelly

I let the jello firm up overnight, then I smashed it up into the jelly texture.

stuffing the amaro shortbread sandwich cookies

I was thrilled with how these came out, visually and flavorwise! The filling was wildly bitter, as amaro tends to be, but since it was a thin layer it worked so well with the simple shortbread sandwich cookies. I added some extra salt to the cookies too which I think helped the flavor balance.

amaro shortbread sandwich cookies

Twists on the amaro Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

You could use any amaro for this and I think playing around with different flavors would be fun. There are some more desserty amaros, and others that are even more abrasive. Fernet cookies anyone? I think braulio would be good in these but again I am weird. The main reason I stuck with campari was the color and because it is what most people think of when they think amaro. If you wanted to go in a totally different direction, Kahlua or Coffee Patron would be great.

amaro shortbread sandwich cookies

Storing Amaro Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

These have been on the counter for 3 days at this point and they are still very good. The cookies are fairly hard when you first are making the sandwiches and the moisture in the jello softens them perfectly. I thought they were at their absolute best after about 4 hours, and started tasting less good after about 20 hours. (but still pretty good). If you try and freeze these, let me know because I have not tried it yet. Jello can be weird in the freezer.

amaro shortbread sandwich cookies

I used the shortbread sandwich cookie recipe from Sturbridge Bakery as a guide when making these

If you love unique cookies, check out my raspberry basil corn cookies, and if you love alcohol and cookies, how about this oreo white russian?

Amaro Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Two sweet and salty shortbread cookies with a thin layer of bitter amaro jelly sandwiched in between.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
resting4 hours
Total Time5 hours 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Mash-Up, Sweets
Servings: 36 sandwiches
Calories: 146kcal



  • 2 cups Your favorite amaro I used Campari
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 packets unflavored gelatin


  • 1 cup butter room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt



  • Bring 1 cup of amaro to a simmer and stir in the sugar. Simmer until it melts.
  • Stir the gelatin into the other cup of amaro. one and a half packets or 1.5 oz
  • Pour the hot amaro into the cold amaro and whisk to combine. Set aside in the fridge for at least 4 hours to solidify. Before you start the cookies, take the jello out and vigorously stir it to break up all the large pieces and end up with a jelly texture. Return to the fridge until ready to use.


  • Cookies adapted from Sturbridge Bakery – linked above
  • Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla continue to mix.
  • Add in the flour and salt and mix until combined. It might still be crumbly, but if you put some together with your hand it should form a dough.
  • Form a disc and wrap it with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350. Roll out the dough very thin, between 1/8th and 1/4 inch thin.
  • Cut the circles, and if you want like mine, you can cut out shapes on half the cookies to form the window effect. I used a straw to make circles cause it was all I had.
  • Bake on a parchment lined sheet for about 10 minutes until set and just barely threatening to brown on the edges.
  • Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. Place about a teaspoon of the jelly on the bottom half, then press the top half on to it. You want the filling to be super thin cause it it VERY bitter and a little goes a long way.
  • I have not tested freezing these cookies or filling them more than 24 hours before eating


Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 106mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 172IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.