Linzer Sandwich Cookies

>> Thursday, December 10, 2009

With the holiday season upon us, its time to get to baking. Whether you are hosting a party, baking sweets to put under the tree or just enjoying a treat while warming by the fire, making cookies is a great way to spark your holiday spirit. This week, I kicked off my baking with Linzer Sandwiches. These delicate cookies are beautiful and delicious. You can get creative with the shape of cookie you select, from round cookies to holiday shapes. What makes the Linzer Sandwich so unique is the center shape punched out of the top cookie to reveal a sweet jam inside.

I decided to make snowflake shaped Linzer Sandwiches. When covered with confectioners sugar, the shape really worked well; though the more intricate the shape, the more delicate the cookie so be careful what cutter you select based on your baking skill level.

To get started on this holiday treat, you will need the following ingredients to make around 20 cookies:

5 ounces unblanched hazelnuts
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Confectioners sugar, for dusting
2/3 cup raspberry, strawberry or cherry jam

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer nuts to a clean towel. Vigorously rub the nuts in the towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. Set nuts aside until completely cool. Place nuts in a food processor, and process until finely ground and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. This works best if you have a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add egg, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla.

Whisk together reserved hazelnuts, 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 with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have ready two baking sheets lined with Silpats or parchment paper. Also have your cookie cutters ready. One for the cookie shape that is about 2 1/2 inches and one for the center that is about 3/4 inches. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half the dough to a scant 1/4 inch thickness. Using the larger cutter, cut out cookies. With a wide, flat spatula, transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Using the smaller cutter, cut the centers out of half the cookies. Repeat rolling and cutting with the other half of the dough.

Bake until the edges are golden, 12 to 16 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from the oven; place on a wire rack and cool completely.

Lightly sift confectioners' sugar other the decorative tops (the ones with the center cut out); set aside. Spread a scant tablespoon of jam on the bottoms of each cookie, and sandwich with the sugar dusted tops.

Enjoy your holiday cookies!


Jeanne December 23, 2009 at 9:25 AM  

So beautiful and festive! These look delicious!

Emily December 23, 2009 at 2:24 PM  

Thanks Jeanne, The hazelnut really makes the cookie.

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