Sweet, crisp, hazelnut-flecked cookies sandwiched with raspberry preserves, the dainty Linzer cookie is one of the sweetest looking cookies around. This version from Sarabeth Levine's Sarabeth's Bakery takes these Linzer Hearts to the next level of adorableness by cutting them into heart shapes.
Sarabeth's linzers have crisp edges and slightly chewy centers, getting their delicate texture from the use of pastry flour instead of regular old all-purpose. The cinnamon and hazelnuts that go into the cookie dough really come through after baking, giving these cookies enough flavor to be really tasty even without jam and a sprinkling of sugar. But who's to argue with a little sugar and jam? All together these cookies taste just about as beautiful as they look, especially with a little bit of jam squishing out of the sides.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Sarabeth's Bakery to give away this week.
Adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery. Copyright © 2010. Published by Rizzoli. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- ¾ cup (3 ounces) hazelnuts
- 2 ½ cups pastry or unbleached cake flour, sifted, divided, plus additional for sprinkling
- 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature, beaten
- Approximately ½ cup raspberry preserves
- Confectioners’ sugar, for decoration
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Spread the hazelnuts on a half-sheet pan and bake until the skins are cracked, about 10 minutes. A handful at a time, place the warm hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub together in the towel to remove the skin (some skin may remain on the nuts). Cool completely.
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the cooled nuts with 1/2 cup flour until finely ground. Mix the remaining 2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking powder, and salt with the nut mixture in the a medium bowl.
Beat the butter and superfine sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and texture, about 5 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula. Gradually beat in the egg. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture. The dough will be very moist. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap loosely in the plastic and shape into a 1-inch-thick rectangle. Refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours.
Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line three half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
Cut the chilled dough in half. Place one half of the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and sprinkle the top with flour. Roll out the dough into a 1/8 –inch-thick rectangle. Using a 2 ¼ inch-heart-shaped cookie cutter, dipped in flour, cut out the cookies. Transfer to the prepared pans. (The dough is delicate, and you will probably find it easiest to move the hearts with a floured offset metal spatula.) Gather up the scrapes and set aside. Repeat rolling and cutting out the cookies with the remaining half of dough. Place the pans in the refrigerator (there is no need to cover them). Combine all of the remaining scraps into ½-inch-thick rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until lightly chilled, about 10 minutes. Repeat the rolling cutting procedure until all of the dough has been cut into hearts and placed on the pans. Refrigerate the hearts on the pans until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
Bake the first two pans of cookies, switching the position of the baking pans from top to bottom and front to back, until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned, 15 to 17 minutes. Repeat with the last pan of cookies. Cool completely on the pans.
Arrange half of the cookies on a half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper, with the undersides facing up. Spoon about ½ teaspoon of the raspberry preserves onto the centers of the cookies. Top each with one of the remaining cookies, flat sides facing, to make a sandwich. Cover with parchment and let stand at least 8 hours or overnight to set.
Note:The cookies can be stored in an airtight container, with the layers separated by parchment paper, for up to 5 days. Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the cookies.