I’m beginning to think that it’s scientifically impossible for people not to smile when they see a Linzer cookie. Honestly, I has just Googled them because I couldn’t decide whether I should capitalize the word “Linzer” and ended up totally hypnotized by all the lovely photos. I’m here to tell ya, Googling Linzer cookies is almost as entertaining as Googling alpacas.
What? Alpacas are hilarious.
So, now that I’ve gone completely off subject, let’s steer things back to the cookies. They’re so pretty and so festive—an ideal Christmas cookie. Which is why I’ve decided to enter them in the Kitchen Corners December Cook Off, hosted by the truly wonderful Damaris of Kitchen Corners. I think that Linzer cookies would make a fantastic addition to the already amazing line up of cookies that are popping up at this cook off.
Unlike your average Christmas cookies—those decorated sugar cookie type things—Linzers have a bit of character. They’re a dignified, complex sort of cookie, composed of two hazelnut, almost shortbread-like cookies and filled with raspberry jam. Oh, and they’re coated in powdered sugar.
The assembly may look a little difficult, but it’s actually quite simple. It’s just a matter of following a few easy steps.
First you’ve got a bottom cookie, which you bake without any of the cute cutouts.
Then, rather than simply spread the jam with a knife, I found it easier and less messy to pipe a thick squiggle of it in the middle and let it spread out when I pressed the top cookie on top of it.
Before applying the top cookie, liberally dust it with powdered sugar.
Briefly admire the pretty design it leaves on your cutting board.
And then top the cookie!
See? Pretty easy, right?
Now, that being said, in my Linzer-related adventures I did discover a few key tips that will make your Linzer-related adventures a little less hazardous.
- Cut out the cookies at a medium thickness. You want them to be substantial enough that they don’t fall apart during assembly.
- Use a spatula whenever possible to transfer your cookie pieces from A to B, just because, again, they can be fragile.
- Because the cookie dough can be quite sticky, roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap. It’ll save you and your countertops from a lot of messy flour.
The final component of my contest entry for the cook off involves giving these cute little Christmas cookies to someone else. In this case, thanks to some not-so-subtle hints around Thanksgiving about loving any and all cookies, I was able to contribute a package of Linzers to the growing pile on my Government teacher’s desk the day of our final. In the past, he has specified that he really liked chocolate chip cookies, so I was a little worried that the whole hazelnut-raspberry combination might not be to his liking. However, the second he read the card on my box of cookies, I heard him say that he loved both hazelnuts and raspberries—score!
While we took our final, he graded tests and munched away on all the treats. Not to toot my own horn, but he truly raved about these, saying—and I quote—that they were “To die for.” When I turned in my test, I told him I was glad he liked the cookies (he didn’t know they were from me up to that point) and he raved again. He asked if I had made them myself and was completely flabbergasted when I said I had.
Finally, he asked if I had got the bonus question right—what was his dog’s name—and I said “no.” “I’ll give you a point anyway, because of those cookies” was his response. He then went ahead and decided to give the whole class the bonus point on their tests, too. Again, I don’t mean to brag, but these are some powerfully delicious cookies.
So there you have it, thanks to a plate of cookies there can be joy abounding and better test grades across the board. Reason enough to give them a try, don’t you think? I used this lovely recipe over on Epicurious.