Snacks & Treats
Special Linzer Cookies For Santa
BY JULIE VAN ROSENDAAL, DINNER WITH JULIE
Dec 19, 2016
When it comes to Christmas cookies, linzer cookies are as special as they get — sugar cookies beautifully sandwiched with ruby red jam peeking through the window of a sugar-dusted cookie on top. They’re perfectly decorative, yet don’t require the patience (nor produce the mess) of typical rolled and cut sugar cookies or gingerbread men, decorated with icing and candy. And on those last few days leading up to Christmas, when the kids are besides themselves with excitement and you need to divert their energy into a project, rolling and cutting and spreading with jam is just the thing. Although they require a little more effort, that’s what once-a-year cookies are for.
The sugar cookie dough can be made ahead and frozen if you like, or wrap it tightly in plastic and stash in the fridge for up to a few days in advance. When you’re ready to bake, thaw it on the countertop to make it more malleable.
This formula makes a great blank canvas — tender, vanilla-scented shortbread-like cookies sandwiched with raspberry jam are traditional, and often the dough is made with finely ground almonds or hazelnuts, but you could add a pinch of cinnamon or scrape of nutmeg, or add some lemon or orange zest. And if you want to stray from raspberry jam, spread the baked cookies with apricot jam, marmalade, lemon curd, or even Nutella. The cookies get even better after a day or two, as the cookies soften slightly with the jam, and the flavours meld together.
When Santa’s on his way, it’s nice to leave him something particularly special. (Along with apples or carrots for the reindeer, of course.)
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This recipe is easily doubled for a larger batch; if you want to add ground nuts, stir a 1/2 cup of finely ground almonds, pecans or hazelnuts into the flour before you add it.
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup raspberry jam
- icing sugar, for dusting
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla for a few minutes (use the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, if you have one), until pale and light. Add the flour and salt, and beat on low just until the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball, shape it into a disc and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes, or for up to a few days.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out 1/4-inch thick and cut into rounds, hearts, stars or other shapes with a cookie cutter. Using a small cutter, cut out a window in the middle of half the cookies. Using a thin spatula, transfer them to an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Once completely cooled, spread the solid cookies with jam, and sprinkle the ones with a window with icing sugar — this is easier to do if you shake the sugar through a sieve, or use a shaker. Carefully place the sugared cookies on the jam cookies. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen linzer cookies.