Saturday, September 24, 2011

September 24, 2011 - Linzer Hearts


So why, out of the blue, would I publish the very special  Linzer Hearts recipe in the middle of September with nary a holiday beckoning? As it happens, my niece Christy is being married on October 8, and my insane sister-in-law is making cookies for the reception. As if there won't be enough sugar shock for everyone to imbibe. But they are pretty, they are festive, they are amazingly delicious. And they are a pain in the butt to make, since they  require assembly. Hence, the cookies must be made in advance. Not a recipe to leave for the last minute when wedding nerves are jangling.

One small note: If you don't want a lemony cookie, then omit the lemon zest and juice altogether, and substitute 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and a large pinch of either mace or nutmeg for a slightly spicy cookie. Cinnamon and raspberry play very nicely together. Or just go with a vanilla-y cookie, or substitute half the vanilla extract for almond extract for a refined variation.

LINZER HEARTS

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg white
1 large pinch salt
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 2/3 cups flour

seedless raspberry jam (Dickinson’s is the best)
powdered sugar

Preparation
Cream butter and sugar on medium high speed of a stand mixer until fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the jam and powdered sugar) and beat well. Let the dough rest for about 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Roll out the dough to about the thickness of a dime. With a heart shaped or round cutter, cut out an even number of cookies. Half of the cookies (these will be the tops) will have the center cut out with a small cutter: i.e. a heart, or small circle,or some other shape. Place cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at (400F) in preheated oven for 3 to 6 minutes. They should be a very pale golden color.

Once the cookies are completely cooled, dust the tops with powdered sugar from a shaker or a fine sieve. Spread a thin layer of jam onto the bottom halves, and press the 2 parts together.

30 to 36 cookies.
(We triple or quadruple the recipe for holiday baking).

Make ahead note: Cookies can be baked in advance and frozen prior to assembly. Defrost a day or two before your occasion, and dust the tops with powdered sugar. Spread the bottoms with jam and press together with a top.