For any New York transplants who grew up in middle America, the jam-filled centers of Linzer cookies sandwiched between two crispy, nutty cookies, will make you think of home over the holidays. Linzer cookies are the cookie version of the Linzer Torte (cake), originally from the town of Linz in Austria, however these are made throughout Germany and the German part of Switzerland. I love to use our homemade Greenporter raspberry jam (featured weekly on the breakfast buffet) in the centers and prefer the taste of hazelnuts for all things Christmas but you can use walnuts or almonds instead. Guten Appetit!
Makes 36 cookies
1 1/2 cups finely ground hazelnuts (almonds or walnuts ok)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Powdered sugar, for dusting
3/4 cup raspberry (some like apricot jam but make sure it is smooth or the cookies will break or be crooked when you sandwich them).
- Combine nuts, flour, cinnamon, salt, and cloves in a large bowl and whisk; set aside. Place egg and water in a small bowl and beat with a fork until pale yellow and mixed thoroughly; set aside.
- Place softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on medium speed while adding the sugar. Beat until smooth and lightened in color for about 3 minutes. Add the egg mixture and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, mixing only until the flour disappears into the dough, about 1 minute. (Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. If the dough comes together but some dry crumbs remain in the bottom of the bowl, stop the mixer and finish mixing the ingredients with a rubber spatula.)
- Divide the dough in half and form it into 2 balls. Place 1 ball between 2 large pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Flatten the ball with your hands into a disk, then roll with a rolling pin, turning the dough over frequently so that the paper doesn’t cut into it, until it’s 1/8 inch thick. With the waxed paper or plastic wrap intact, transfer the dough to a baking sheet; set aside. Repeat with the second ball and place on top of the first piece. Refrigerate or freeze until the dough is very firm, about 2 hours in the refrigerator or 45 minutes in the freezer. (The rolled-out dough can be wrapped tightly and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw the dough enough to cut the cookies, and go on from there.)
- Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- Remove a round of dough from the refrigerator or freezer and place on a work surface. Remove and discard the top sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Using a 2-inch round or fluted cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible. Using a 3/4-inch round or fluted cutter, stamp out the centers of half the rounds. (Reserve the stamped centers in a scrap pile to reroll later.) Transfer all the rounds to the prepared baking sheet and space them 1/2 inch apart. Repeat rolling and cutting with the second piece of dough until the baking sheet has 24 rounds.
- Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, dry, and just firm to the touch, about 9 to 11 minutes. Immediately transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the first batch is baking, gather the scraps, press into a disk, and roll between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze until firm. Repeat cutting, baking, and cooling with the remaining dough. (You can reuse the parchment.)
- Dust powdered sugar over the cookies with the cut-out centers—these are the tops of the sandwiches; set aside.
- Flip the remaining cookies upside down and evenly spread 1 teaspoon of jam on each—these are the bottoms of the sandwiches. Gently place a powdered-sugar-dusted cookie top on each bottom.