Recipe: Hazelnut linzer cookies
Makes 1½ dozen
11/2 cups hazelnuts, finely ground
12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
3 large egg yolks
11/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup fruit preserves
As long as you have two cookie cutters of the same or compatible shape, one smaller than the other to make the cutout, you can shape these cookies anyway you like— hearts, stars, butterflies, and more.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread the ground hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and set the baking sheet on a rack to cool. Turn the oven off if you won’t be baking the cookies right away.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon and orange zests on medium speed until well mixed, about 4 minutes.
Beat in the egg yolks, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Add the hazelnuts and beat until combined.
Turn out the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a flattened disk. Wrap it in the plastic and chill until firm, 30 minutes or up to 2 days. (The dough can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.)
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ⅛-inch thickness.
Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out 36 cookies. Transfer the cookies to parchment-covered baking sheets, spacing them at least . inch apart. Using a .-inch round cutter, cut out and remove the centers of half of the cookies; these cookies will be the tops. Chill the tops and bottoms in the refrigerator until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.
While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F if necessary.
Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer the cookies, still on the parchment, to a wire rack and let cool completely.
When they are cool, sprinkle the cut-out top cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Spoon about ½ teaspoon preserves on each whole bottom cookie; then set the cut-out cookies over the whole ones to sandwich them together.
Unfilled, the cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Once filled, they are best eaten on the same day.
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Excerpted from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox, Photographs by Ellen Silverman Copyright © 2009 by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox, Photographs by Ellen Silverman. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.