Linzer Cookies (Linzerkekse)
: Kimberly Killebrew, www.daringgourmet.com
Serves: About 26 3-inch completed cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole almonds or hazelnuts (blanched or unblanched)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
Zest of one small lemon
½ cup raspberry jam
½ cup powdered sugar
To toast the almonds: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts out on a cookie sheet, place them on the middle rack and toast for about 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let the nuts cool completely and grind them in a food processor along with ¼ cup of the sugar until finely ground.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in the ground almonds.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until pale in color, add the sugar and beat until fluffy, and then add and beat the egg yolks, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Gradually beat the flour/nut mixture into the butter mixture. Divide the dough into quarters, wrap each piece with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator at a time. Place the dough between two sheets of wax paper and roll it out to ¼ inch thickness. Use 3-inch cookie cutters (round, stars, heart-shaped are the most traditional) to cut out the cookies and place them on a lined or non-stick cookie sheet. Cut out a top for each cookie, using a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center so the raspberry preserves will be exposed. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Gather up any scraps of dough, let them chill a few minutes, and cut out the remaining cookies. Note: It's important that the cookies remain firm so that they retain their shape. If the dough becomes soft, place the cookie sheet in the fridge for a few minutes to chill before baking.
In an oven preheated to 350 degrees F, bake the cookies for about12 minutes or until just starting to turn golden around the edges. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes until transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cooled, spread the bottom half of each cookie with some raspberry preserves, leaving a thin border around each cookie. Place the top of each cookie on its corresponding bottom half. Use a spoon or piping bag to fill the cut out center with a little more of the preserves.
Store in an airtight container for up to several days.