I’ve discovered that baked goods can make the best gifts for special occasions. Whether it’s a present for a birthday or a housewarming gift, a plate of cookies has just the right mix of thoughtfulness and practicality to be a gift that anyone can enjoy. I actually made these cookies as a present for Matt’s mom! I opted for cookies because they are portable, but I also wanted to do something with a fun and creative twist. These Linzer cookies fit the bill perfectly.
Linzer cookies are believed to have originated in the City of Linz, Austria. Traditionally they consisted of a crust made with flour, ground nuts (traditionally almonds), sugar, egg yolks, spices and lemon zest that was filled with black currant preserves and then topped with a lattice crust. You don’t have to grate any almonds or run to the store in search of black currant preserves to make the recipe I’m sharing with you today. Instead this recipe is a slight adaptation on the traditional cookie, making it slightly easier to pull together with ingredients you likely have in your kitchen.
Raspberry Linzer Cookies
Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies
3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup good raspberry preserves
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 2 3/4-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. With 1/2 of the rounds, cut a hole from the middle of each round with a heart or spade shaped cutter. Place all the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes.
Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners’ sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confectioners’ sugar on the top.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
The baked cookies are quite crisp, but once they are filled with the jam they start to soften. So if you want to keep the cookies crisp, fill them with the jam the day of serving.