Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Linzer Cookies

Making cookies this time of the year can be stressful. So many different cookie types of make and coordinating your baking so you don't make the cookies too far ahead of when you're going to be giving them.
This is why I love cookies like these Linzer Cookies. They are so pretty and you can cut them out in any shapes you like, cut a decorative hole ( or two) out of the center, fill, sprinkle with powdered sugar and you're finished!
Now I know I've made that whole process seem like it takes no time at all..but with planning, you can prepare the dough ahead of time and just cut them out when you're ready.

Linzer cookies can be made with almonds, as these are, or you can use hazelnuts or even pecans. It just depends on which nut you prefer. You can also vary the filling, about a chocolate filling with hazelnuts or even switching out the raspberry jam for another flavor.
This particular recipe uses cake flour which makes these cookies a bit more delicate.
Anyway you make them, one thing's for sure, they're delicious.
If I could give you one tip to making these, it would be to roll these cookies out thinly. Between 1/8" and 1/4" is perfect, in my opinion. Because the cookie is sandwiched, you're going to have two cookies stacked and you want them to be fairly delicate and light. If they're too thick, then it looses that nice light flaky quality. ( Did any of that make sense?!)
Whisk your dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then set it aside for a minute.

In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar til light and fluffy.

In a small bowl, place the egg, yolk, lemon zest and vanilla.

Grind the nuts with a little bit of your sugar in the food processor to make them fine.

Add the egg mixture to the creamed butter mixture and beat well.
Then add the nuts and mix well.
Then add the flour mixture, adding in small batches til combined.
Place half the dough onto plastic wrap...

And roll to the 1/8" - 1/4" thickness, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.
Chill the dough for an hour or two. Then at this point, you can just keep it in the fridge, covered well, til you need it or cut out your shapes ( half with a decorative center cut out).
Preheat the oven to 350 and place the cut out shapes about 2" apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake, then cool completely on wire racks before filling.

Place about one teaspoonful of jam onto each cookie bottom, then top with the other cookie with the cut out center.

Once you've sandwiched the two cookies, take a little more jam and place in the cut out section just to make it look more full and prettier!
Then dust with powdered sugar. You can pop them back into the fridge to help them set a bit.
Linzer Cookies (from "Culinaryinthedesert")

3 1/3 cups very finely ground almonds ( or other nut you'd like)( Also I toasted mine before grinding to bring out more flavor)
3 1/3 cups unsifted cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg ( freshly ground is best)
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter-softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Raspberry jam or Nutella (or another flavor you'd prefer)
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar til light and fluffy.
3. Place the egg, yolk, zest and vanilla in a small bowl, then add to the creamed mixture and beat well.
4. Blend in the ground nuts.
5. Add the flour mixture, one cup at a time beating til just combined. (Scrape the bowl on the sides and bottom from time to time to be sure to get all the dough incorporated.)
6. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and place on plastic wrap. Roll each between 2 pieces of wrap to 1/8" to 1/4" thickness. Chill dough for 1 to 2 hours. Or wrap well to bake at a later time.
7. Preheat oven to 350 and cut out shapes from the cold dough, placing cookies on baking sheets back in fridge if they get too soft or your oven's not up to temp. yet.
8. Bake approx. 12 minutes, or til edges are golden.
9. Once the cookies have cooled completely, spread a teaspoonful ( depending on the size of your cookie) of filling onto the bottom cookie. Then layer with the other cookie and fill a little bit of filling into the center space. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
I'd store these cookies in a tin or in the fridge, covered well or in a zip lock bag.

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