In French, they’re called “Dame Blanche,” which translates to “White Lady.” There’s an old French opera by Boieldieu, “La Dame Blanche,” which some people speculate to be the namesake, although it could be completely unrelated. I like to call them “Lady in White Cookies,” which might make you think of a bride, innocence… Because if I called them “White Lady Cookies,” you’d probably think the baker was a racist…
I first made these my freshman year in college while I was living in the dorms. I’d watch old episodes of “Cooking with the Times” on my laptop and dream about making the recipes myself instead of doing my architecture homework. It was sort of foreshadowing. By the time I got a chance to go into an actual kitchen and cook, I practically had the recipe memorized.
1/2 c ground almonds
1 c cake flour
1 c AP flour
3/4 c powdered sugar (plus more for dusting)
14 T butter (don’t judge), cold and cubed
1 vanilla bean, seeded
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 – 1/3 c raspberry jam, at room temp (Bonne maman is good)
1. In a food processor, grind whole almonds till smooth, and measure out a half cup.
2. Return the 1/2 c almond meal to the food processor along with the cake flour, AP flour, and powdered sugar. Pulse to combine.
3. Add in the cold butter pieces, and pulse again until it resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Add the eggs one at a time and keep pulsing until it forms into a rough mass.
5. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Add in the vanilla bean seeds and almond extract into the mix and pulse just a couple more times.
6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, form into a disc, and cover with plastic wrap.
7. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour or overnight.
8. Preheat the oven to 350°.
9. On a floured surface, roll out the dough until about a 1/4 of an inch thick.
10. Cut into heart shapes (or wreaths, circles, whatever). For half of the batch, cut out an additional heart or circle shape in the center of the cookie, so the jam can peek through later.
11. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 min until the edges start to turn golden brown.
12. When the cookies are cool, dust the ones with their center’s cut out with powdered sugar.
13. Spread some raspberry jam on top of the solid cookies. I actually prefer the seeds in the jam, but you can go seedless if you want. Also, jam’s easier to spread at room temp, just fyi.
14. Press together the sugar coated cookies on top of the jam cookies, and voilà, you have la dame blanche.