Because my kids were away, I didn't get into the Christmas mood this year. It was good to just relax for once. But on Christmas Eve, I was fretting, wondering what to cook for the dinner I planned for family and friends on Boxing Day when all my three kids would be back. So I found myself baking cakes and Linzer cookies on Christmas Eve, and after all was done, I tasted a hot cookie and it didn't make the earth move and I wondered why I bothered to make cookies when I don't even like them myself, let alone my guests.
But my efforts were rewarded when many of my friends told me they loved the Linzer cookies. Sure enough, as I chewed on one of the cookies, they tasted a lot better cooled and with raspberry jam. This recipe, straight from the Culinary Institute Of America's website, is for those who liked the cookies and asked to bring some home.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
- 3/4 lb (3 sticks/340 g) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (I used 3/4 cups only) granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups cake flour (this made a very soft dough; I added 3/4 cup more)
- 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 cups fine cake crumbs or plain dry bread crumbs (I used bread crumbs)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 1/2 cups ground hazelnuts
- Confectioners’ sugar, as needed, for garnish
- Raspberry jam, as needed, for filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Gradually add the eggs, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Reduce the speed to low.
- Sift the flour, cinnamon, cake crumbs, and baking powder together into a medium bowl. Add to the creamed mixture all at once and mix just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Add the hazelnuts and mix just until combined. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F (175 C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut rounds of dough using a fluted circular cookie cutter. Use a smaller cutter to cut a hole in half of the rounds. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. As you are working, reserve the scraps so that they may be rolled again and cut.
- Bake until lightly golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes (I baked for about 20 minutes, so that the cookies are golden and toasted).
- Allow the cookies to cool for a minute on the baking sheets then transfer, using a spatula, to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- Sift confectioners’ sugar over the cooled cookies (I only sifted the sugar over the cookies with holes). Pipe or spread a thin layer of jam on the cookies without holes. Top with the remaining cookies and press gently to secure.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container.