Sunday, December 26, 2010
Linzer Sandwich Cookies
Ya, I know...it's after the fact. A day late, a dollar short. Too little, too late. But in my book, I like to think of it as better late than never. Because if I never shared this recipe with you, it would be a shame. Besides....they don't HAVE to have Christmas Trees in the center. Make them for New Years and cut out a star in the center. Or Valentines Day and cut out a heart. You get the picture.
I don't often watch Martha Stewart. However, when I saw her making these cookies...it really caught my attention. I went on the hunt for the recipe and found it here --->Linzer Sandwich Cookies<--- then went on another hunt for cookie cutters. Ooooh, sure...I have a gallon sized baggy full of cookie cutters but not a single one of them were round, with the cute little scalloped edges. I had such a hard time finding what I wanted. There's not a single kitchen specialty store in my town. Bed, Bath and Beyond had scallop edged cutters but they didn't have a Christmas Tree or any other Christmas shape that would fit in the center. Macy's didn't, The Great Indoors didn't either. And of course none of them had the specialized Linzer Cookie Cutters. After a weekend of failing, my daughter found a little cookie cutter kit at Michaels Craft store that had very small cutters and I ended up getting a 2 1/2" round fluted cookie cutter at Cost Plus World Market (I was hoping they'd have the special Linzer cookie cutters, but they didn't). All this just for cookie cutters. I felt like a dog with a bone...I wasn't letting go until I got what I wanted.
And it was so worth it! Although....the whole nut part of this recipe 'bout drove me nuts. I think next time, I'll use a nut that's already roasted and skinless.
Linzer Sandwich Cookies
(makes about 16 cookies)
1 cup unblanched hazelnuts
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 lg egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (plus more for the work surface)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup of jam (I used my Pomegranate Jelly)
Powder sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375' F.
Toast your hazelnuts on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes. Immediately transfer the nuts to a clean towel and vigorously rub them in the towel to remove the skins.
It kinda worked. I got a workout. The nuts were not completely skinless or even halfway skinless. There has got to be a better way.
Anyways....set the semi-skinless nuts aside and allow to cool completely. Once cool, place in a food processor and grind them up until they are....well..... finely ground. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat for another 3 minutes, until smooth. Beat in the vanilla.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add to the butter mixture (I added a little at a time), beat on low to combine.
Divide the dough in half and flatten into disks. Wrap them with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.
(I made a bunch of different kinds of dough over the weekend and put them all in the fridge and then was able to bake away during the week as time permitted)
When you're ready to bake:
Preheat the oven to 350' Prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Get out a 2 1/2" round cookie cutter and a 3/4" theme cookie cutter.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4".
Well, if your dough is anything like mine, it might be a bit on the crumbly side and not very rollable.
What I did at this point was to form it into a ball first...and get that dough meshed together. Flattened it.... then it was very agreeable to being rolled out to 1/4" and then cut with the 2 1/2" round cookie cutter
Carefully transfer the cookies to one of the prepared cookie sheets. Using the decorative cookie cutter, cut out the centers of half of the rounds
Repeat with the rest of the dough and the scraps.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on wire racks to cool completely.
Once they're completely cooled off, you can dust the decorative tops with powdered sugar.
Spread a little jam on the bottoms (about a tablespoon)
Put the sugar dusted, decorative tops on and there you have the prettiest little tasty cookies ever.
These little gems were crumbly without falling apart, and buttery. You can use any kind of rollable cookie dough you prefer....along with your favorite jam, and of course your choice of decorative cutouts. Let your imagination go and enjoy.
I know it's a little late...but Merry Christmas!!