Linzer Cookies

I love filling cookies with my jam. These cookies are particularly good for this treatment since the dough is just slightly sweet.  The recipe calls for grinding nuts and mixing butter and sugar, filling the kitchen with sublime fragrances.

Photo: Sally Pasley Vargas

Linzer Cookies
Makes 5 dozen 3-inch cookies for 30 jam sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 + 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 jar Bonnie’s Raspberry Jam
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, for dusting.

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Have on hand 2 or 3 baking sheets. Line them with baker’s parchment.

2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the almonds and the sugar until finely ground. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, and salt until combined

3. In a bowl or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium-low speed until smooth. Add the ground almonds, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix on low speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time, and mix on low speed until combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.

4. Turn the dough onto the counter and divide in half. Shape each half into a flat rectangle. Roll between 2 sheets of parchment to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and peel off the top parchment sheet. Flip the dough onto a clean parchment-lined baking sheet. Peel off the top parchment and cut into 3-inch shapes, such as wreaths and stars. If using multiple shapes, cut an even number of each to make the jam sandwiches. With a small cutter or pastry tip, cut out a circle in the center of each of half the shapes to make the tops of the sandwiches. Use a straw to cut out multiple holes, if you like. Reserve and re-roll the scraps until all of the dough is used.

6. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set on wire racks to cool completely.

7. To assemble: Place the tops on one baking sheet. Use a small strainer to dust them with confectioner’s sugar. Turn the bottoms upside-down (so the flat side is facing up) and spread with a scant teaspoon of jam. Carefully place the tops over the jam and gently press. Store in an airtight tin between layers of waxed paper for up to 3 days, or freeze for 1 month. Alternatively, store the unfilled cookies for up to a week in an airtight container and assemble at the last minute.