In the spirit of visiting in Germany in the wintertime, I thought it would be fun to try making linzer cookies this year. Linzer cookies are hands-down my cookie of choice – I’ve always been partial to pastries with a slightly nutty dough and I love the thin layer of jam in between. Doesn’t hurt that they look pretty, too.
Enough babbling, the recipe! The key to success with this recipe is keeping the dough cool. This will ensure the cookies keep their shape when you’re cutting them. This is also why the recipe says to form the dough into disks before cooling – rolling out cold dough isn’t the easiest task so flatting the dough beforehand will make it easier (this was a “duh” moment for me after the fact).
For this recipe you will need:
5 ounces (1 cup) unblanched hazelnuts (Note: I used almonds, which were equally good.)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
2/3 cup raspberry or cherry jam (You can use any jam you like. I used a package of four different jams from Trader Joe’s, which were fun to alternate with.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place nuts on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately transfer nuts to a clean towel. Vigorously rub the nuts in the towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. Set nuts aside until completely cool. Place nuts in a food processor, and process until finely ground. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Whisk together reserved nuts, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add to butter mixture; beat on low until combined, about 2 minutes. Form dough into two flattened disks, wrap each with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have ready two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Also have ready one 2 1/2-inch round fluted cookie cutter and one 3/4-inch cookie cutter (I just used a handy little set like this one). On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Using the 2 1/2-inch fluted cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Using the smaller cutter, cut the centers out of half of the cookies. Repeat rolling and cutting with the other half of the dough. Combine the scraps from both batches, reroll and cut.
Bake until the edges are golden, 12 to 16 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from oven; place on wire racks until completely cool.
Lightly sift confectioners’ sugar over the decorative tops and set aside. Spread a tablespoon of jam on the bottom of each cookie, and sandwich with the sugar-dusted tops.
recipe via Martha Stewart