(The above Image, taken from Leite’s Culinaria from inset picture of Linzer Hearts from the book Sarabeth’s Bakery.)
“Sarabeth’s Bakery” – From my hands to yours by Sarabeth Levine. What a beautiful, outstanding, inspiring, informational book it is, and I highly recommend it as a must have for anyone that loves to bake!) This particular recipe comes from Sarabeth’s Bakery and in my opinion is an outstanding Linzer cookie. The amount of cinnamon in the recipe might put you off, but when I tested this recipe, I used the full amount and did not find it at all over powering, in fact I found it to be a delightful, tasty, tender cookie, just as written. I filled some of mine with Raspberry jam as instructed per the directions, but couldn’t pass up the temptation to smear some Nutella in some of them also! (How can you go wrong?) Make up a batch today, you won’t be sorry! Perfect for Valentine’s Day too!
By: Sarabeth Levine – Sarabeth’s Bakery: From my hands to yours
Makes about 3 dozen sandwich cookies
These classic cookies are a little time-consuming to make, but the results are so beautiful and delicious that you won’t mind the extra effort. The cinnamon-scented hazelnut dough is cut out into heart shapes, then baked and sandwiched with raspberry preserves. This lovely cookie is reminiscent of the finest Linzertorte (Linz is an Austrian town that is famous for this kind of tart/cake.) The dough is on the soft side, so handle it with care.
Bakers Note: These cookies bake up crisp but soften when they come in contact with the preserves, and soften even more if stored in an air tight container. You will need a 2 1/4 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter (measured across the widest point) to make these beautiful jewels.
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) raw hazelnuts
- 2 1/2 cups pastry or unbleached cake flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, as your love of cinnamon dictates
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup or so raspberry preserves
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350ºF (176°C).
2. Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until the skins split, about 10 minutes. Working quickly, place the warm hazelnuts, a handful at a time, in a kitchen towel and rub together to remove the skin (some skin may remain on the nuts; this is okay). Repeat. Let cool completely and turn off the oven.
3. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the cooled nuts with 1/2 cup of the flour until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the remaining 2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the butter and superfine sugar with a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the egg. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture. The dough will be rather moist.
5. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap loosely and shape into a 1-inch-thick rectangle. Refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours.
6. Adjust oven racks to the center and top third positions and preheat the oven to 350ºF (176°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. Cut the chilled dough in half. Place half of the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and sprinkle the top with flour. Return the other half to the refrigerator. Roll out the dough into a 1/8–inch-thick rectangle. Using a 2 1/4 inch-heart-shaped cookie cutter dipped in flour, quickly cut out the cookies and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets. (The dough is delicate, and you will probably find it easiest to move the hearts with a floured offset metal spatula.) Gather up the scraps of dough and set aside. Repeat rolling and cutting out the cookies with the other half of the dough. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator. Combine the dough scraps into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until lightly chilled, about 10 minutes. Then repeat the rolling and cutting until all of the dough has been cut into hearts and placed on the pans. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 30 minutes.
8. Bake the heart 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. Transfer the pans to wire racks and allow the cookies to cool completely on the pans.
9. Arrange the heart cookies on one of the baking sheets with their flat undersides facing up. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry preserves in the center of each cookie. Sandwich with one of the remaining cookies, flat sides facing. Cover with parchment and let stand at least 8 hours or overnight to set. (The heart cookies can be stored in an airtight container, with the layers separated by parchment paper, for up to 5 days. Note, they will soften considerably when stored.) Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the cookies.