I love the sentiment of Valentines Day, cards with tender tones, flowers and various tokens of admiration – quite clearly I am a total romantic. I also love hearts, so it’s alot of fun to have Valentines Day as a reason to decorate everything with hearts or make everything in heart shapes. Of course my daughters love it too, there is something very sweet and whimsical in the shape of a heart – or maybe it’s what it stands for that draws us in, everyone wants to be loved afterall.
Linzer Cookies are an obvious choice for heart shapes and the traditional almond biscuit with jam combination is a great one. I have made these many times before and in my travels through linzer cookie land have stumbled upon a few tips to make the baking of these cookies alot less fussy. They are a little more time consuming than your standard cookie so these little handy hints certainly help with a dough that is alot easier to manage and ultimately a much neater cookie.
I am not too sure how you are planning to spend this loved-up day but it would be nice to make these and hand them out to those who are dear to you - a little something to share the sentiment. Love to you all! xx
1 ½ cups plain/all purpose flour
1 cup almond meal
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
113 grams/4 ounces salted butter, softened
½ tsp grated lemon rind
½ tsp almond extract
4 large egg yolks
raspberry preserves or jam
icing sugar (powdered sugar), sifted
In a bowl, combine the flour with the almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir well.
In a seperate bowl, place sugar, butter and lemon rind; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add egg yolks and almond extract and continue beating until well blended. At low speed, begin adding flour mixture gradually, beating at low speed until all flour is integrated. Beat just until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a nonstick surface or piece of plastic wrap and knead lightly until smooth. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions, wrapping each piece in a sheet of plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 350°. Roll each dough portion into about an 1/8 of an inch thickness onto a sheet of parchment paper cut to the size of your baking pan (or other nonstick baking mat). Then cut dough into shapes using a cookie cutter, leaving a very small amount of space (¼ of an inch) between cookies. With each batch, remember to cut equal amounts of tops and bottoms. Your cookie cutter can be any shape and the size of the hole in the cookie top is totally up to you. Remove remaining dough around cutouts, forming it into a ball and returning it to the plastic. Place dough in freezer to re-roll later, and begin working on the next portion of dough. Repeat until all dough is exhausted.
In between rolling out sections of dough, bake cookies one batch at a time at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Lift the entire piece of parchment paper onto the baking sheet and place in the oven. It helps to have a few baking sheets in rotation so that one pan is being prepped to go in the oven while the other is baking. After pulling the cookies from the oven, let them cool several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cookies cool completely.
Heat jam in the microwave for around 1 minute so it is runny and hot. Take a butter knife and coat the bottom half of the cookie with a thin layer of raspberry jam and glue the cookies together. Use a sifter to coat the tops lightly with the icing sugar then fill in the hole with a little more jam.
Notes: This recipe should make 9 – 10 really large cookies or 20 smaller cookies.
© 2011, Michelle. All rights reserved.