Baked Sunday Mornings: Traditional Linzer Cookies

I rarely make roll and cut cookies because I think they're such a hassle. Even when I make sandwich cookies, I look for recipes where the I can just scoop the dough and the cookies will bake into uniform round shapes on their own. But this week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe, "Traditional Linzer Cookies," forced me to break out my rolling pin and Linzer cutters. And I'm glad it did!

This recipe calls for blanched almonds that you grind in the food processor with sugar, but I skipped the grinding step by using an equal weight of almond flour instead. To make the dough, I beat softened butter with sugar until light; added an egg, egg yolk, and almond extract; and alternately added most of the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt) and a mixture of almond flour and more sugar. I formed the dough into disks and refrigerated them for a few hours.

After the dough was chilled I tried rolling it out 1/8-inch thick and cutting it with a 2.5-inch fluted cutter. The dough was too thin to handle; the cookies were becoming stretched and distorted as I tried to transfer them to a parchment-lined pan. So I re-gathered up all of the dough, generously floured my work surface and the dough to reduce sticking, rolled the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, and used a smaller fluted cutter that was 1 and7/8 inches in diameter. The smaller, thicker cookies were much easier to handle and transfer without any stretching. I froze the cut cookies briefly before cutting out the centers of half of them. Making the cutouts was a delicate process; my heart cutter was relatively large compared to the size of the round cookie, so after removing the heart centers the remaining narrow cookie frame was prone to tearing and distortion. The cookies require only a quick bake in the oven.
The color of the baked cookies was a little muddier than what I would normally expect for a Linzer cookie, presumably because of the cocoa powder in the batter. I'm not sure why the cocoa is included in the recipe -- it doesn't add any chocolate flavor to the finished cookie and the darker color isn't really evident after you dust the cookies with powdered sugar. I filled half of my cookies with blueberry jam and the other half with seeded raspberry jam; I got 40 filled sandwiches from a batch of dough.

The recipe says you can store the cookies at room temperature, but since the sandwiches were filled with uncooked jam, I kept mine in the fridge. They were wonderful. I had leftover cookies for several days and they never lost their crisp texture or became soggy. I think that almond goes well with any fruit jam and I liked the blueberry and raspberry versions equally. If I had to change anything, I might up the amount of almond extract a bit. My tasters loved these cookies and praised their dainty and polished appearance. I thought they easily could have passed as coming from a high-end bakery. The effort required to make these roll and cut cookies is totally worth it.  

Recipe: "Traditional Linzer Cookies" from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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Anonymous said…
Gorgeous! These would be so pretty for Valentine's Day. :) I like your idea of almond flour. I rolled mine to ¼-inch as well just because I like my rolled cookies a little heartier. Also, I'm so intrigued why mine got really soggy overnight while yours stayed crisp for several days! I suspect that I slightly underbaked the cookies and that my jam was too wet. Thoughts?
Louise said…
1/4" thickness makes sense to me. That seems to be what I've done with other recipes. Last night I was reading "Payard Cookies" and it calls for 1/4". I hope to find the baking jelly/jam Payard refers to. I expect our local Mennonite bulk store has it as they seem to have everything for my baking needs.
Suelle said…
Renowned Australian baker (also well known in the UK) Dan Lepard says that a tiny amount of cocoa enhances the flavour of the nuts in this sort of recipe.