I found some Wilton Linzer Cookie Cutters at A.C. Moore when I was looking for Valentine baking ideas. We don't always give each other gifts that we buy. Sometimes a dinner out or a fancy dessert prepared by moi suffices. I made a cake for Lee, but he also had been mentioning a decided lack of baked goods available in our pantry, related to my low carb diet that he does not follow. So I also baked some cookies. I think this wins in the gift giving race and I am ahead by one! Not eating carbs reduces his gift choices for me, but we may take a trip for our anniversary, so that bumps him up again.
Good thing I'm not keeping score.
The Linzer cookie recipe was on the packaging for the cutter. It is a sandwich cookie. You cut out one shape, in this case a heart. Then you use one of the supplied smaller cutters inside the heart shape and cut out a heart with a tiny window in it. Spread the whole heart with a topping and lay the heart with the cutout on top and you have a wee window to the topping of your choice.
I chose a heart within the heart. The skull and cross bones didn't fit my Valentine's Day theme. grin
I also chose red raspberry jam, also in keeping with the theme. Although I did make one with Nutella and another with the leftover Hazelnut Buttercream frosting I made for the cake.
Linzer Sandwich Cookies
2 cups flour
2/3 finely ground almonds I use almond meal from Trader Joe's
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (approx.) seedless red raspberry jam I took the jar out for the picture. Keep yours cold until ready to use.
powdered sugar for dusting
Combine the flour, almond meal, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a fork to mix and set aside.
Use a stand mixer to beat the softened butter. You want it light and fluffy and this takes muscle. Let a Kitchen Aid do it for you! Beat the butter for about 2 minutes. Scrape it down and add the sugar. Beat for two more minutes.
Add the egg and the vanilla and mix for about another 30 seconds. Add about half of the flour and mix and then the rest of the flour and mix until combined. Don't over mix. You may need to stir by hand to get it all combined.
Divide the dough into two pieces.
Shape into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for about 2 hours, or until firm enough to roll out.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a Silpat.
On a floured surface, roll out half of one of the disks to 1/8 inch. Keep the other disk in the refrigerator until you finish with this one. I found these great bands that you put on the rolling pin to roll dough out to the proper thickness. The whole disk was too big to use with them, so I just did half at a time. It helped to knead the disk a bit to warm it just a tad. You will need to flour the rolling pin frequently, also.
Make sure the dough isn't sticking to the surface before you start to cut. Otherwise you will distort the shapes getting them up. I used my pastry cutter to loosen any stuck bits. Keep plenty of flour handy to dust things often. Knead, reroll the scraps and cut as many shapes as you can.
Cut half with the insert of your choice and half without. I kept count on a piece of floury paper to make sure they came out even. You won't get the same number from each disk. I had one bottom left over, but it found a home, Lee or Tara, can't remember which. I also baked a few of the wee hearts from the center cutouts. I baked these with the bigger cookies, same time and temperature and they were so cute. Lee popped about 6 before I could spread some of the jam in between two and make mini sandwich cookies!
Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Mine took 11 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to cooling racks. Let cool completely.
I put paper towels under the cooling rack with all the top cookies, those with the cutout. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Now get the jam out of the refrigerator. Turn over one of the bottom cookies (no cutout) and spread about a teaspoon of the jam.
Don't go all the way to the edge or it may ooze a bit and make a mess. Place a powdered top on the cookie and set aside. I placed mine in a large container with a lid.
If you made some of the mini hearts, drop a small dollop of jam on one and top it with another, bottoms facing. Cute little treat!
I am not ashamed to say I did try one. One. It was delicious. I sent some home with Tara and the rest are for Lee.
So far he has eaten them when I am not looking. I think it is because he already has the dog's eyes following his hand to his mouth and back to the plate during every meal he eats. He doesn't need me eyeing his every bite, too. Hey, at least I don't drool. Much.