Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to Y’All !
Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling.
No holiday season is complete without these beautiful classic Linzer cookies. These pretty and gorgeous Linzer cookies are basically nothing but old fashioned shortbread almond cookies sandwiched with jam in between. Traditionally it is a raspberry jam, but I don’t know why only raspberry jam got that special stature, but here in India, raspberries are distant dreams. So, I thought of using my latest crave, the super addicted chilli tomato jam, both are freshly sourced from a friend’s farm.
The results were absolutely delicious. The taste of sugary cookies were beautifully offset with the hint of spicy chilli tomato jam. For an Indian palate this combination I guess is the best suitable. Sweet and spicy is always win -win situation for us. And that is the reason perhaps I always run away from the sugary cookies. You wont find much cookie recipes on my blog.
On another note, I am terrible in making cookies. Whatever I tried, the cookies seems to have their own mind once they are in the oven. Misshapen, burnt, uneven and any such adjectives you can think of.
But I love shortbread cookies because of the ground almond it contains. Almonds takes these cookies to the next level. Without them it is all just plain sugar and flour. Carb high.
In pursuit of good food and happiness, we often travel to distant land, forgetting the nicest things growing on our own backyard. Berries are not local in India, but to compete with the global palate we keep importing them from the foreign lands. And when they lands to our shores, they pretty much lose half of their sheen. Food always taste best when they are prepared with freshest and seasonal produces that is available locally.
Think global, but act local. This is what I am trying to practice in my life.
This season I had baked a lot and had learned many new things on the way. Some were hit, some were miss. Like the German stollen that I had baked yesterday. Everything was accurate to my knowledge, but the fruit bread turns out more cake like and not bread like with crumbly texture and yes my stollen simply forgot to rise for the second time. Otherwise, stollen would have graced my today’s blog post, but it would still grace our Christmas table tonight.
- All purpose flour : 1 cup
- Butter : 3/4 cup
- Sugar brown : 1/2 cup
- Egg yolk : 1
- Lemon / orange zest : 1 tbsp
- Spices optional: 1 tsp Pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon or nutmeg
- Vanilla extract : 1 tsp
- Almond flour : 3/4 cup
- Chilli tomato jam for filling
- Confectioner sugar for dusting
- Notes : If you are like me, pure homemade from scratch, then keep your jam and confectioner sugar ready before one week and a day respectively. The flavour of jam enhances once it matures for few days to a month. This jam of mine had been maturing in my cupboard for one month.
- You can also substitute partly the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour in the recipe.
- Also, keep your homemade almond meal ready a day before. Blanch the almonds, peel off the skins, dry them in oven or under the hot sun, slightly roast it and then grind it in the mixer with one teaspoon sugar and large pinch of corn starch that will absorb all the moisture.
- Beat the butter (always softened at room temperature) , sugar (use fine granulated or powdered), zest until light and fluffy. This will take around 5 minutes or more.
- Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until just combined. Do not over beat, else egg will separate.
- Sift the flour and then measure. Mix in the spices if using.
- Whisk in the almond flour, salt (I haven't used as my butter is salted one) with the flour.
- Add the flour mixture to the dough mixture and mix until just combined. If using spatula, then mix it thoroughly, and if using hand mixer then carefully beat it. Do not over beat.
- Gather the dough with your hand, smooth it out, and divide the dough in half.
- Pat each half into a disc, you can use roller pins too. Warp it in cling film and refrigerate it until firm or over night.
- On a lightly flour dusted surface, roll out one disc of dough about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Stamp out the cookies using your favourite shapes.
- Transfer rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather the scrap dough, roll, and repeat. Place the cut cookies in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- While the cookies are chilling in the fridge, roll out second disc of dough in similar fashion.
- Stamp out the cookies. Put it back in the refrigerator for chilling .
- Preheat the oven to180 C / 350 F for 20 minutes.
- Towards the end of preheating time, take out the first batch of cookies, and stamp out peekaboo shapes using a small cookie cutter (the inner circle /shape).
- Immediately put it in the oven, otherwise the cookies will lose its shapes while handling and baking.
- Bake 8-10 minutes until golden and crisp. Or eyeball the cookies till the undersides starts browning.
- Take it out from the oven, let it cool for 5 minutes before transferring it to the wire rack.
- Bake the second batch of cookie in the similar way.
- Place the cookies with the holes in them on a cookie sheet and sift confectioners' sugar over the top.
- Spread 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the center on the cookies without holes. Top with the sugar-dusted cookies.
- The filled cookies will soften when it is stored, so to maintain the crispness of the cookies, sandwich the cookies with jam just before serving.
- The assembled cookies can be stored in an airtight box for several days (mine last for two weeks, before we finish them all).
Before wrapping up this year, here are my best of nine on Instagram.
See y’all in New Year