Posted on October 18 2013
Week 3 of the Christmas Cookie Exchange Challenge…
Mini Linzer Cookies
Did you do a double take on the picture above? I know the title says mini but these are anything but mini! I used a cookie cutter the size they said to in the recipe and they are giant. Because of that (and another reason I’ll get to later) I don’t have as many to hand out this week so come early. Anyway, on to the review…
Shortbread – need I say more? Butter held together with sugar and flour. And this isn’t just any shortbread cookie, this is shortbread sandwiching raspberry preserves. The only way this could get any better is with piles of fresh berries on top and somehow dipped in chocolate or homemade whipped cream! OK, OK, I am getting sidetracked and I need to focus.
So this recipe is from Ina Garten’s 2009 episode entitled: Card Sharks’ Delight. Before you ask that is according to FoodNetwork.com not my own memory, even though I do tape and watch most of her shows. She is great background for sewing and I have never had a recipe of hers let me down.
¾ pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup good raspberry preserves
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
If you look at the recipe on the Foodnetwork.com website it starts with preheating your over to 350 degrees. Trust me, don’t do that quite yet...you’ll see why momentarily.
So start off first with mixing your butter and sugar with an electric mixer until they are just combined.
Add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour and salt.
If you notice I do not use a traditional sifter, it is just too much on my hands to squeeze that much, especially with a recipe like this that uses so much flour! I find it best to use a fine mesh strainer, easier on the hands and much faster. Anyway, after you have sifted the flour and salt together add it all to the butter-and-sugar mixture.
Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. (VERY IMPORTANT: do not over-mix the dough once the flour has gone in. You will end up with some very tough cookies.)
Dump onto a floured surface (I just used my clean counter) and shape into a flat disk.
Wrap in plastic and chill* for 30 minutes. (Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on that oven yet?) If you choose to leave the dough in there for longer you will have to let the dough soften a bit as the butter hardens and you won’t be able roll it out at all.
*don’t look too closely at the things in my fridge – it is the end of the week so our Farmer’s Market fresh veggies have been cooked up and it looks like all we eat are condiments!
Next roll the dough ¼ inch thick and cut 2 ¾ inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. (This is the size the recipe says to use – if you want mini – go with something smaller, probably about an inch.)
With half of the rounds, cut a hole from the middle of each round with a shaped cutter.
Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes. This is when I would pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes (less if you use a smaller cutter), until the edges begin to brown.
Well you don’t need to look too closely at mine to see some of them came out too brown. That is what you get for not paying close enough attention to them in the oven! I am a big advocate for multi-tasking – but sometimes it burns you, quite literally!
Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie.
Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners’ sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confectioners’ sugar on the top.
I have 9 more cookies lined up to test in my Countdown to Christmas (yes only 9 weeks till Christmas!) but I am thinking this is going to be a favorite. These cookies are easy to make, seasonally appropriate with the red and white and you can use Christmas cutouts, easy to travel and taste magnificent. Of course it helps that I have a major weakness for shortbread. I generally don’t keep them in the house because all my willpower goes out the window and in my euphoric haze of eating them (with a good cup of tea of course), I will find I have eaten more than I planned to. Good going down – not so good when I am trying to work off all the extra calories.
So next week I am going to try a slightly different route – away from the sweet and directly to the spicy. It is time for the Browned Butter and Cardamom Cookies!
Only 67 more days till Christmas!!