Sunday, June 10, 2012
A Little Heart Goes A Long Way
These cookies are the cookie version of Linzertortes, ( Linzer torte or Linzer tart) a popular and traditional dessert in Austria , Switzerland , Germany and other European countries. It is usually served at Christmas time as are the cookies here in North America. The dough in both desserts is flour, butter, a little sugar, and usually ground nuts, like almonds or hazelnuts. It is crumbly, buttery, nutty, and just slightly sweet. The tart is filled with jam and covered with strips of dough forming a lattice design on top. The cookies are sandwich cookies, usually with a shape cut out of the top cookie.
Heart Print Sandwich Cookies
5 oz. slivered almonds without skins (1 c.)
½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
½ c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour, plus more for work surface
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. table salt
Powdered sugar, for dusting
2/3 c. fruit jam of your liking (I used strawberry)
Place almonds in a food processor, and process until finely ground. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Whisk together ground almonds, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add to butter mixture; beat on low until combined, about 2 minutes. Form dough into two flattened disks, wrap each with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350. Have ready two baking sheets lined with Silpats or parchment paper. Also have ready one 2 ½ inch round fluted cookie cutter and one ¾ inch cookie cutter. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half the dough to a ¼ inch thickness. Using the 3 inch fluted cutter, cut out cookies. With a wide spatula, transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Using the smaller cutter, cut the centers out of half of the cookies. Repeat rolling and cutting with the other half of the dough. Combine the scraps from both batches, reroll and cut.
Bake until the edges are golden, 12 to 16 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from oven; place on wire racks until completely cool.
Lightly sift powdered sugar over the cut-out tops; set aside. Spread a tablespoon of jam on the bottoms of each cookie, and sandwich with the sugar-dusted tops.
Chef’s note: If you notice that your dough is getting sticky while you are cutting out the cookies, form it back into a disk and place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. I kept the second disk of dough in the fridge and alternated between doughs when I rerolled the dough scraps. You will also need to reflour your workspace and rolling pin often.