No translation needed. . . Linzer Cookies

by Mexigarian on December 12, 2012

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I had the joy of participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012. I saw a post on fellow blogger Lindsay The Lean Green Bean (who also runs the Foodie Penpal Exchange) and knew I had to participate. I mean, who doesn’t like receiving packages in the mail? And if said packages contained a dozen cookies? Sign me up! I also loved the fact that these cookies would be coming from all over the country, from different stories, ideas and families. And entering, the money would go to charity.

I knew I wanted to send cookies that were near and dear to my heart. Ones that I have had since I was a kid in middle school and whose memories contained nothing but love and goodness.

That my friends was the Linzer cookie.

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You see, I first met my Hungarian Uncle Janos and Aunt Maria, back when I was in eighth grade. [Why it took so long for us to meet? Long story.]  They arrived in America for a 6 month stay and spoke not a lick of English. Neither my sisters and I spoke any Hungarian [another long story] so it was difficult to talk and get to know them. But my aunt, being very boisterous around family and kids, knew just what to do in order to communicate with us. 

Food. Desserts to be exact. With no translation needed.[okay, there was some translations needed for the meat dishes]  Through her cooking and baking we learned to understand some Hungarian and each day was a treat, wondering what would be cooked up next in the kitchen. Over the course of their stay, I learned and fell in love with a variety of dishes and sweets. I would eat everything. Though one stood out from the rest.

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One of the first sweets I remember her making was the Linzer cookies. At the time I didn’t know that was what they were called, but all I knew is that they looked like perfect little flowers dusted with snow. And the homemade strawberry preserves she brought from Hungary was perfect on the buttery crumble of the shortcake. Sweet, with a little bit of crunch from the seeds, thick and gooey.

I drool just recalling the first time I had these cookies. I hope you drool when making these.

{They are a little time intensive, so make these a weekend afternoon when you have no other plans, not at 6pm on a weeknight like I did}

Linzer Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup  almond meal or whole almonds*

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted (save extra for rolling/cutting)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp pure almond extract (optional)

zest of a lemon (optional)

1 cup powdered/confectioners sugar

Jam of your choosing. Strawberry, raspberry, apricot etc.

Need: One 2 1/2-inch round fluted cookie cutter and one 3/4-inch cookie cutter. the fluted gives your the hole or window for the jam.

*I used almond meal here instead because I was too lazy to bust out my food processor to grind up the almonds. The almond extract was just to add a bit more fresh almond flavor with the meal.

To use whole almonds:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put almonds on a baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and cool until they are ready for the food processor. Processes with a 1/4 cup white granulated sugar until fine. Do not over grind or you are on your way to almond butter.

Directions:

In a bowl, sift together cinnamon, sugar, almond meal/ground almonds, flour and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Incorporate eggs, one at a time, along with the extracts, and mix until well blended. Then slowly beat in the dry ingredients [flour/almonds etc]. Mix until completely incorporated.

Divide the dough in half.  Roll into two balls, [here you can just wrap them in plastic wrap and stick in fridge OR] then flatten each one with floured rolling pin until a 1/4 inch thick. Wrap each flattened disk in plastic wrap and let it set for 1 hr or overnight.

Heat oven to 350° F.

Once firm, take out the disks from the plastic and place on a lightly-floured surface [if still a ball, roll out piece of dough to a 1/4 inch thickness]. Set aside a small bowl of flour**.

Using your fluted cookie cutter, cut the dough.**  Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Reroll the scraps of dough and cut using non fluted cutter as necessary. Make sure there is an equal number of bottom whole cookies to an equal number of top cookies with the hole in the middle.

Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through.  Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Lightly sift confectioners’ sugar over the hole tops and set aside. Spread about a tablespoon of jam of choice on the bottoms of each cookie, and sandwich with the sugar-dusted tops.

Enjoy!!

**be sure to dip your cookie cutter into flour after each cut because the dough may stick to the cutter. No bueno.

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Don’t they look delicious??

I packaged these babies up and sent them to three other food bloggers. Elizabeth Food Ramblings, Heather at French Press, Rachel at Following In My Shoes .

I saved some for my Papa, but of the 10 that were leftover. . . only 3 got to my parents. [side-eye to Eric]

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And special thanks to Katie at Katies Cucina, Jessica at Kettler Cuisine, and Dea at the Baking Robot for THEIR cookies, that they sent to me. Enjoyed every last crumb. Well, ones that I could get of what my husband left behind. 😉 [seriously, I had like 2 of each and then they disappeared!]

Check out their lovely blogs for the recipes of their cookies!

 

Happy Baking everyone!

 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel @ Following In My Shoes December 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

They were VERY good…. my kids adored the cut-out shapes. Thanks so much!

Reply

Mexigarian December 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Glad you and the kids liked them! 🙂 I thought the Christmas shapes would be fun. I found the cookie cutter at Michaels!

Reply

Becky December 16, 2014 at 2:22 am

These look melt-in-your mouth yummy!! And the cookie swap looks like so much fun!
Good job! 🙂

Reply

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