These sweet little cookies may just have made me the most proud I’ve been in the kitchen in some time now. When I say that I’ve been wanting to make linzer cookies for the past 7 Christmas seasons, I’m not kidding you. And with all that waiting came a lot of anticipation and high expectations for what these cookies should be. But they turned out just perfectly and met every one of those expectations.
While they look delicate and difficult, they are actually quite easy to put together, though involving a few steps that require some patience, as my cousin and I learned this past weekend while making them. You’ll make the dough and chill it for a few hours. Then roll, cut, bake, and cool completely. In the meantime, you’ll reduce some jam; I used seedless raspberry but any kind will work. While the jam is cooling, you’ll dust the cut-out cookies (we made hearts) with powdered sugar. When the jam has cooled, you’ll spread it on to the full cookies (the ones without the powdered sugar) and sandwich it with the sugared halves…and you’ve got these picture-perfect Christmas cookies! Like I said, they do require a few steps but they would be the perfect weekend baking project for a few friends or even for your kids or grandkids to help you with.
Oh, you want to know about how they taste? Well, think of the best light shortbread you’ve ever eaten, combine it with a tiny dollop of a reduced jam that is almost savory in comparison to the sugared linzer cookie, and you’ve got quite possibly the best Christmas cookie I’ve ever made..the cookie that all Christmas cookies will be judged against this year and maybe for years to come. That’s quite a cookie!
Pecan Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Filling
source: Martha Stewart Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted (I omitted due to allergies but I’ve left the instructions anyway)
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
- Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl; set aside. Pulse pecans, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until finely ground (but not wet); transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add butter and granulated sugar; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and egg. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Halve dough; shape into disks. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out dough with a 2-inch fluted cutter. Cut out centers of half the squares with a 1/2-inch heart cutter; re-roll scraps. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Chill dough on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Bake cookies and hearts until pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced and thickened, about 7 minutes; let cool.
- Sprinkle cutout cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Spread jam onto uncut squares; top with cutout ones. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days.
Yields about 2 dozen sandwiches.