Festive Jammy Linzer Cookies
When I think of Christmastime, I think of crimson red—from holly berries to amaryllis to red stockings carefully arranged on fireplace mantles. I think of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Santa Claus’ suit, and of lush white snowfalls left untouched for just a moment.
These Jammy Linzer Cookies are my take on Christmastime in cookie form. They remind me of New York City winters; of holiday wreaths, snowstorms on Christmas day, “Feliz Navidad” blasting on the radio, and mugs of warm cider.
I like to keep it festive and stick with a gorgeous lingonberry, raspberry, or strawberry jam, and doing so is a great compliment to the ground hazelnuts in the cookies. Just be sure to keep in mind to use a good jam (or combination of) that you’ll enjoy eating, as it is the star of this lovely cookie.
Jammy Linzer Cookies
Makes about 18 cookies.
These cookies remind me of a fresh snowfall on Valentine’s Day: They have heart-shaped centers and their tops are covered in a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. But they’re fit for any occasion—Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Mondays (Mondays always call for cookies). The ground hazelnuts in the cookies pair beautifully with the Back of a Napkin Strawberry Jam and are also great with lingon-berry jam or black currant jam. Use a good jam that you’ll enjoy eating, as it’s the star of this lovely cookie.
- 2 1/2 cups | 185 g ground hazelnuts (see Note)
- 2 1/2 cups | 300 g all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp fine-grain sea salt
- 1 cup | 225 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup | 100 g confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
- 2 Tbsp cold milk, plus 1/2 Tbsp if needed
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- “Back of a Napkin” Strawberry or Raspberry Jam (recipes featured in book), or high quality store-bought jam of your choice
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground hazelnuts, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Set this aside.
- In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. Turn off the mixture and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. On medium speed, mix in the milk and vanilla until just combined.
- Briefly stir in the ground nut–flour mixture until a ball forms. If the dough is dry, add the 1/2 Tbsp milk and mix briefly, just until the dough holds together.
- Form the dough into two disks, wrap them in plastic wrap, and put them in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until firm.
- Arrange two racks in the upper third and center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F | 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll one disk of dough on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of parchment paper (lightly dust the parchment and the top of the dough with flour) to 1/4 in | 6 mm thick. Dip a 2-in | 5-cm round (or fluted or plain—it’s up to you) cookie cutter in flour and cut out rounds of dough, keeping the pieces as close to one another as possible. Transfer the cut dough to one of the prepared baking sheets, arranging the rounds about 1 in | 2.5 cm apart. Using a smaller cookie cutter of your choice, cut out a small center from half of the cookie rounds.
- Put the baking sheet in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies firm up. The colder the cookie dough, the better they’ll keep their shape in the oven.
- While the dough chills, roll and cut out the rest of the dough as before. Put the chilled cookies in the oven and put this baking sheet in the freezer to allow the cookies to firm up as well.
- Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Bake the next sheet of cookies.
- After the cookies have cooled, dust the ones with the cut-out centers with confectioners’ sugar and spread the other cookies with jam. Sandwich together. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- To grind your own hazelnuts, simply put some hazelnuts into a food processor and pulse until they are mealy and fine; don’t run the food processor for too long because you’ll soon end up with hazelnut butter.
- If the dough becomes very soft when you’re rolling it, wrap it back in plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s manageable.
- Keep in mind that once you have spread the jam on the crisp cookies, they begin to soften a bit.
Substitute other ground nuts for the hazelnuts (or use a combination); ground almonds and ground pecans work well.
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