With all the focus on texture, cutout cookies rarely get too crazy in terms of flavor. If you want to venture beyond the classic sugar cookie, try this recipe for jam-filled Linzer cutouts, adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. The brown sugar in the dough gives the cookies a warmer color and flavor, and any jam, providing it's dense and not too runny, will work as a filling.
Linzer cookie cutters come in a variety of shapes and are designed for one thing only: to cut little "windows" that expose the glossy jam filling beneath.
- Yield:3 to 4 dozen cookies
- For the cookies:
- 1/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable shortening
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) sour cream
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) cornstarch
- For the filling:
- 3/4 cup (9 ounces) seedless raspberry jam
- For the frosting:
- 2 tablespoon (1 ounce) butter, melted
- 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 to 4 tablespoons (1 1/2 to 2 ounces) milk or cream
In a large bowl, beat together the shortening, butter, sour cream, sugars, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Add the egg, beating until fluffy. Whisk the flour and cornstarch together and stir in. Divide the dough in half, form into disks, wrap well, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and roll it 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surfaced. Cut into 2 1/2- to 3-inch rounds. Cut a smaller shape (circle, diamond, heart, or other shape, depending on the cutters you have) in the center of half of the rounds to make the tops of the cookies. Place the cookies on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets and bake them for 8 to 10 minutes, until they're very lightly browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on racks.
Combine the frosting ingredients and put a thin layer of frosting on the cookies with cutouts. Place them on a rack to drain and dry.
Place a half teaspoon of jam on the unfrosted cookie circles, then place the frosted cookie cutouts on top.