Everyone should read this endearing article about making Christmas cookies.
Choice quote: “It’s cookies, not the Olympics.” So true.
I had a realization: I’ve been calling these “linzer tarts” when technically they are just “linzer cookies.” Did anyone else not know this? A linzer tart is cut into slices… you know, like a tart. A linzer cookie is the cookie version of the same dessert. I keep reciting that line in my head from When Harry Met Sally in Billy Crysal’s excellent bumbling New York accent: “What does this song mean? My whole life, I don’t know what this song means!” * Ok maybe not a precise analogy, but a serious realization nonetheless.
* Harry on “Auld Lang Syne”: I mean, ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot’? Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot?
These cookies tasted wonderfully nutty and buttery. The cherry jam and almond cookie went together perfectly, although raspberry would have been equally delicious. The original recipe asked for hazelnuts in the dough but you can substitute almonds or walnuts.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, 2005
2/3 cup whole almonds (3 oz) [I used whole roasted almonds]
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 12 ounce jar cherry jam (or other fruit jam)
First toast the nuts on a baking sheet in the oven until they’re fragrant. In a food processor, combine the toasted nuts and 1/4 cup brown sugar until finely ground. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a standing mixer combine butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar until whipped and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. When combined, add the almond mixture. Then add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time.
Divide the dough in two balls and wrap each in plastic wrap. Flatten each into a thick disk.
Let sit in the refrigerator for about two hours. Dough should be cold and firm.
On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (I prefer thinner cookies). Using a round cookie cutter create your cookies. Half the cookies should have a window in the center (of any shape, really!).
Bake for about 10 minutes at 350. Edges should be golden brown.
Let cookies cool, then cover the cookie halves (without windows) with jam. Create sandwiches.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.