spiced linzer cookies

I had some (a lot) of trouble writing this post because I’ve been feeling so lethargic lately and I probably shouldn’t spend a post writing about my lethargy. Especially when I feel too lethargic to write it.

Okay, guess what, I just came up with a topic.

I’ll write about cookies. After all, that will make for a very smooth transition into talking about, well, the Linzer cookies that are the actual feature of this post.

(This preamble here is more the unwanted bonus thrown in for kicks.)

Winter holidays (yes, I’m as always a bit slow, it’s already passed) are synonymous with cookies to me, or at least the idea of cookies. Cookies are small and easy to eat but still fairly indulgent. The size makes them perfect for sharing and as long as they’re relatively sturdy, they travel well as gifts. Of course these umbrella statements only apply to some sorts of cookies as they’re quite the diverse group.

These Linzer cookies were my (and The Cousin’s) contribution to the holiday baking. I ended up feeling very lethargic (in the cookie-making department at least) after these so my dream of a large variety of cookies did not come to fruition (luckily for those wanting cookies, my sister picked up the slack).

I’ve been admiring a number of gorgeous Linzer cookies, small tender cookies hiding colourful spots of jam. It seems like they all pop out of their hibernation during the winter holidays just as I go into hibernation.

I found them surprisingly time consuming, but probably because it’s been a while since I last made cookies, particularly cookies where you need to chill the dough before rolling. I froze it, of course, since I was impatient.

 

The second challenge came in finding the appropriate cookie cutters. My cousin overcame my own functional fixedness-plagued mindset, coming up with the clever idea of using some piping tips as a punch for the centre of the cookies. Until that I had spent half an hour looking through all the bottles and containers we had to find a suitably sized bottle cap, but everything was verging on the side of much-too-big. The piping tips gave a considerable amount of choice in size.

Of course I had to end up making two types of cookies, one with almond and one with walnut. And of course, though this part was easier, I had to use a number of different fillings.

Those filled with chestnut puree do not last as long (the moisture from the puree softens the cookie, and the puree eventually dries out), but are quite nice–the moist filling is good with a crumbly cookie and it is only slightly sweet.

Tart jams work nicely as the filling (ligonberry was my favourite), and the overall result isn’t dry or overwhelming sweet as I worried. Perhaps because the air is rather dry at the moment, but after a day or two the jam dries out until it is pleasantly chewy (rather like those cream and jam filled boxed cookies you can buy in the store) but much less sweet. I would have liked to have made the cookies thinner, but even with just a thin layer of jam, the cookies don’t seem to overwhelm the jam, are are just a buttery, nutty and crumbly partner.

cardamom linzer cookies filled with cloudberry and ligonberry jam

Makes 15-20 filled assembled cookies. The cookie recipe is adapted from Spice in the City’s linzer cookies (I converted Naina’s recipe into weights, but you can look at the original for volume measurements!). 

cardamom, lemon and almond cookie

1 stick butter (1/4 lb)

50 g granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

35 g ground almond

zest of 1/2 lemon

60 g spelt flour

80 g all purpose flour

1/2 tsp cardamom

good 1-2 pinches salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

Cream the butter and sugar until light, beat in the egg yolk and the vanilla extract. Mix in the lemon zest and ground almond.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge to chill completely.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface until thin. Cut out circles (using a small glass or other cutter), and a second smaller circle (using a piping tip) from the centre of half the rounds. Collect the scraps and reroll (if too warm, chill before doing this), and continue until all the dough is used. The cookies don’t spread too much so they can be placed fairly close together and chilled until firm again before baking.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms and perhaps the tops as well. Let cool on the tray.

 

assembly

cloudberry jam

ligonberry jam

icing sugar

Press the cloudberry jam through a sieve to remove the seeds, and the ligonberry jam if it is too lumpy as well.

Turn the solid cookies over and spread each with a dollop of jam.

Dust the tops of cutout cookies with icing sugar, and use to sandwich the jam.

 

walnut linzer cookies filled with apricot and chestnut jam

Makes 15-20 assembled cookies. The cookie recipe is also adapted from Spice in the City’s linzer cookies

walnut and anise pepper cookie

35 g walnuts

1 stick butter (1/4 lb)

50 g granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

1/4 tsp ground star anise

1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp or so of  freshly ground black pepper

30 g red fife flour

30 g whole wheat flour

80 g all purpose flour

good 1-2 pinches salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

Dry toast the walnuts in a pan until fragrant. Let cool, then grind in the bowl of a food processor with a small spoonful of cornstarch.

Cream the butter and sugar until light, beat in the egg yolk and the vanilla extract. Mix in the ground walnuts.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge to chill completely.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface until thin. Cut out circles, and a second smaller circle from the centre of half the rounds. Collect the scraps and reroll (if too warm, chill before doing this), and continue until all the dough is used. The cookies don’t spread too much so they can be placed fairly close together and chilled until firm again before baking.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms and perhaps the tops as well. Let cool on the tray.

 

assembly

smooth chestnut puree sweetened to taste (I barely sweetened it; the cookies were sufficient)

apricot jam

icing sugar

Spread a small spoonful of chestnut puree or apricot jam in a thin layer over the underside of an uncut cookie. Dust the tops of cutout cookies with icing sugar, and use to sandwich the jam.

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12 thoughts on “spiced linzer cookies

    1. I remember seeing your linzer cookie post as well Loretta! They all looked so fabulous, and such great filling choices as well–the classic raspberry and some fun with the marmalade! Linzer cookies are so pretty and, now that I’ve tried them, so delicious, I can understand why they’re quite popular 🙂

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