Cookie Trial 2010 – Linzer Cookie2010-12-21
Since my sister joined in, I thought it was about time that I stepped up to the plate…
As a family, we are, as far as I know, not Austrian; although my Dad and his brothers did spend some time in Germany growing up with Nana and Poppa. For this cookie recipe, we stepped outside the family traditions and truly decided to trial a new one to see if it meets the cut line.
When looking, we decided to explore a European favourite, and we decided to select an Austrian cookie called the “Linzer Cookie”. This cookie has been passed down by many generations in Austria; the recipe was actually created in the early 1600’s! It first originated from the classic Linzer Tart, but instead of pastry dough this treat is formed with cookie dough. The dough is not traditional cookie dough, but rather almond/hazelnut dough that gives it a great nutty flavour.
The traditional cookie consists of a cookie base, jam in the middle and topped with a second cookie that has a centre cut out (known as Linzer’s eye) exposing the underlying jam layer; essentially, a cookie sandwich. When looking at various recipes, it dawned on us that this must be where Kraft Peek Freans got the idea for their “Fruit Crème Cookies”. So we borrowed from Kraft and in addition to the traditional jam layer, we added a vanilla butter cream to the centre of our sandwich. For the most part, the cookies are relatively easy to make and have become a hit in our house. Inside the cookie dough we added some lemon zest to add some tang, which actually complimented very well with the butter cream and strawberry jam.
We created the shapes of our cookies as the classic circle, and yes some critics may be saying “Well, isn’t that a bit boring.” Let’s all remember that though presentation is of course important, the taste of the food is the key. But, for all those fancy men or women baker’s out there that like to kick it up for the holiday season, this cookie would be great to use a variety of festive cookie cut outs.
I hope that everyone enjoys this cookie as much as we do; the classic, Linzer Cookie is truly a keeper and will join our family cookie plate.
The recipe we used is an adaption of one we found in Fine Cooking:
1/2c ground almonds
1/2c ground hazelnuts
2 c all purpose flour
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
7 oz. (14 Tbs.) chilled unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 Tbs. cold water
1/2 cup strawberry preserves (more traditional would be seedless raspberry or black currant but you can use whatever you like…but make sure it is jam with no lumps)
Butter Cream Filling
1 c Icing Sugar
1/4 c butter, softened
1.5 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Several hours before baking:
In a mixer, combine first nine ingredients. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the flour mixture; cut in with knives or a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk together the egg and water; sprinkle over the flour mixture and toss gently to combine. The dough should hold together when pinched. (If it seems dry, sprinkle on a bit more water.) Gather the dough into two balls and knead briefly just to blend. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
Heat the oven to 325°F. Cover your cookie sheets with parchment. Generously flour a work surface. Roll one ball of the dough 3/16 inch thick. (Keep the rest in the refrigerator, and if the dough warms up to the point of being sticky while you’re working with it, return it to the refrigerator.) Cut out as many 2-1/2-inch rounds as possible, rerolling the scraps to make more rounds. Arrange on the cookie sheets about 3/4 inch apart. Cut 1-1/4-inch holes in the center of half the rounds. Reroll these center scraps to make more cookies. Bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Beat sugar, butter, milk and vanilla with electric mixer at low speed until well blended and smooth. If frosting becomes too thick, beat in additional milk by teaspoonfuls until the frosting is of spreading consistency.
To assemble, spread a thin layer of butter cream on the bottom round, top the cream with a heaping 1/2 tsp. jam. Top with the doughnut-shaped cookies, bottom sides against the preserves. Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar lightly over the cookies.
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