Linzer Heart Cookies
With Valentine’s day right around the corner, it seemed like the perfect excuse to bake some cookies! In my opinion, these are the quintessential Valentine’s day cookie. They are just so adorable, and the raspberry jam peaking through the center of the heart is just the perfect for the holiday. My mom used to make these for Valentine’s day, and I can remember her sending me some in a cute little Valentine’s care package. I remember this so well because my mom isn’t really much of a baker, and I was so impressed that she made this complicated cookie, AND managed to get it in the mail before Valentine’s day. I really wanted to send her some of these, but of course – It’s saturday, Valentine’s day is on Monday, and I don’t think express shipping for cookies is really warranted. Maybe next year….
These cookies are really unique. They are so airy and light, and almost melt in your mouth when you eat them. If you’ve ever had those little ball shaped cookies, covered in powdered sugar at Christmas time – these cookies are somewhat similar (but more delicious). But such qualities in a cookie don’t come easy. I’ve made these for 3 or 4 years now, and I think I have learned something new about how to make them better, and prettier each year. Here’s a few tips that I’ve learned from my mistakes:
- These cookies are very fragile. They are actually probably one of the hardest cookies to send in the mail (mine were bubble wrapped !) So don’t be afraid to make the dough a little bit thicker than 1/4 inch (and definitely no thinner). It will help keep them in one piece.
- The dough has to be VERY cold when you are rolling out the cookies. I usually divide the dough into 3 batches, so that I can roll out 1, while the other 2 are still as cold as possible in the fridge.
- I’ve found that it works best if you roll out the dough between 2 floured pieces of wax paper. The flour helps when you go to lift the cookie onto the cookie sheet. Another thing I’ve done is to roll out the dough and then refrigerate the flat sheet before cutting out, this also works well and if you do this you don’t have to re-refrigerate after cutting them out.
- The step that says “Chill the cutout cookies for 45 minutes before baking”, was actually included in the recipe for a reason (other than annoying an inpatient person like myself). If you don’t chill the cookies before baking, they lose their shape quickly in the oven. They still taste good, but it makes it hard to find cookies that match up nicely to sandwich together. And they just don’t look nearly as beautiful.
- You cannot eat just “a piece” of this cookie. Inevitably, you end up finishing the whole thing…
- 3 sticks (3/4 lb) butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar + more for dusting
- 1 egg
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 cup cornstartch
- 2 cups shelled walnuts or pecans, finely ground***
- 3/4 cup red raspberry preserves
***Grind the walnuts in a food processor by pulsing 5-15 times. Be careful not to overgrind because the walnuts will actually start to turn into paste, like peanut butter. To help prevent this you can try adding a little bit of the powdered sugar to the nuts while grinding them.
Cream butter and 1 1/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix well. Sift together flour and cornstarch together, and add to butter mixture. Add walnuts and mix thoroughly.
Gather dough in ball and wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. Chill for 4-6 hours, or overnight, or a day, or 2.
Using a large heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 1 cookie and place on an ungreased cookie sheet (preferably lined with a silicone baking mat). Then cut out the same size heart, and using a smaller heart, cut a heart shaped hole out of the middle, also place on the cookie sheet. Place about an inch apart on cookie sheet (Mine in the picture were a little too close together!) Then chill for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes, or until they are only slightly browned. Remove and cool on wire rack.
While they are still slightly warm, spread half of the cookies with raspberry preserves, 1/2 teaspoon of jam on each cookie. Top each with one of the remaining cookies. Press together carefully, this is when it is very easy to break the cookies!
Once fully cooled, sift the remaining powdered sugar over the cookies. Turn cookies over and sift onto the other side. I like to sift a little powdered sugar on them again before serving.
Makes about 25 “sandwiches”.
Passed on to me by my Mom, and originally from The Silver Palate Cookbook