Thursday, December 23, 2010

Linzer Cookies

I took a Czechoslovakian Christmas cookie class at The New School once (I know, I was surprised too). The instructor, Michael Krondl, handed out this recipe. It was by far my favorite cookie we made that day and the only one I've made over and over since.

These are so tender, they practically melt in your mouth.  As a matter of fact, they're so fragile, they're hard to pick up without breaking (I suffered a few casualties this morning when I assembled mine).  They also need to be filled with jam just a few hours before serving, otherwise they get soggy.

I guess I'm saying these dainty delights are not the best choice for that long road trip you're planning and definitely not a contender for mailing in a care package to your friend overseas (but lovely for a tea party or serving to company on Christmas or Valentine's Day). I did manage to successfully walk these over to a neighbor's house without incident, but it was touch and go there for a few minutes.

Yield:  approx. 2 dozen

4 large eggs, hard boiled for 10 minutes and cooled
1/4 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, slightly softened
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
approx. 1 cup seedless raspberry jam (or other smooth fruit preserve)
confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling (optional)

one 2-inch cookie cutter
one ½-inch cookie cutter (similar shape as above cutter)

1.        Peel the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites (you will only need the yolks for this recipe).
2.        Place the almonds in a food processor and process until finely chopped.  Add the sugar and process until very fine.  Add the yolks and lemon rind; process until smooth and evenly incorporated, scraping down the sides if necessary.  Add the butter in several small pieces, along with the almond extract.  Process until smooth.  Gradually add the flour until it is all incorporated, scraping down the sides once or twice.
3.        Divide the dough in half, shape into disks, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 ½ hours (can be refrigerated for 4-5 days).
4.        Preheat oven to 350º F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5.        Roll dough out onto a well-floured board to approximately 1/8” thickness, dusting dough liberally with flour as you roll.  Using the 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out shapes from the dough.  Using a long flexible spatula, very carefully remove the cut out pieces from the board and place them on the cookie sheets about ½-inch apart. 
6.        Using the smaller cookie cutter, cut a hole in the center of half the cookies on the sheets.  Bake cookies until edges begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool about 10 minutes.  Slide cookies very carefully from the baking sheet onto a flat platter.
7.        The cookies will keep for several weeks in a cool, dry place.  1-2 hours before serving, spread each solid cookie with about 1/4 teaspoon jam.  Place the cookie with a hole on top.  Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar if desired. 
Remember, these cookies are extremely fragile—handle with the utmost care.

dough cut outs (they don't spread, so you don't need to space them far apart)
raspberry jam spread on the bottom half
(I like seedless raspberry Polaner All-Fruit)
before sprinkling
confectioners' sugar is still showing on the jam
confectioners' sugar melts into the jam after a few minutes,
leaving a nice clear window of red jam


Anonymous said...

I ate one of these too! My only regret is that I didn't get to eat all 2 dozen. So. Good.

This recipe is a bit different from mine... as mine calls for boiling the jam. Maybe I'll post my recipe for Valentine's Day so we can compare!

Susan said...

A good 'ol fashioned linzer cookie showdown! (Why it's been years since I've had one of those.)

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