Spread on the Love
Have you ever had a linzer cookie? They are delicate and flaky with lots of butter, a hint of lemon, and the crunch of ground almonds. What's even more EXTRA is that they are a sandwich cookie! Traditionally stuffed with jam, I turn things up a notch with a homemade chocolate ganache option. These cookies are probably my favorite sweet of all time, so I decided to make them myself - jam variety for me and mom, chocolate ganache for hangry bf and dad. Treat yourself to these decadent cookies for Fat Tuesday before the fasting begins!
Linzer Cookies with Chocolate Ganache
Hangry Timer: 2 hours
What You Need:
3/4 cup Whole Almonds
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 small Lemon, zested
1 cup unsalted Butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white Sugar, divided
1 tsp. pure Vanilla Extract
2 large Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Confectioners' Sugar
1/2 cup Raspberry or Black Currant Jam (can use any flavored jams), well stirred
8 ozs. semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp. brewed Coffee*
What To Do with It:
Preheat oven to 350 º F with the oven rack in the center of the oven. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven and once the nuts have cooled, place in a food processor, along with 1/4 cup white sugar, and process until finely ground.
In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract and egg yolks. Finally, beat in the ground almonds and then the flour mixture. Divide the dough in half, cover each half with plastic wrap, form into a disk and refrigerate until firm (30-60 minutes, or up to two days).
Preheat oven to 350 º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter (round, square, heart, etc.), cut out the cookies. Place the cookies about 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centers of half of the cookies on the baking sheet. Reroll any scraps and cut out the remaining cookies. Repeat with the second ball of dough. (Note: If you find the cookies are soft, place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to chill the dough. This will prevent the cookies from spreading and losing their shape when baked.) Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Place the cut out cookies on a baking sheet and lightly dust the tops with powdered sugar. Spread a thin layer of jam or ganache on the bottom surface of the full cookie. Place the cut-out cookie on top and gently sandwich them together. Using a small spoon or a piping bag, fill the cut-out with a little more jam or ganache.
The filled cookies will soften when stored. If you want the cookies to stay crisp, assemble the day of serving. The assembled cookies can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for several days.
Melt the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler** over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.
Cookie recipe adapted from Joy of Baking.
*Coffee really brings out the flavor of chocolate - throw in a splash from your morning brew or use instant coffee granules.
**You can also use a glass bowl over a simmering pot of water if you don't have a double boiler.