Saturday, February 13

valentine cookies

linzer cookies adapted from kate zuckerman's the sweet life
makes about 12 large 3 1/2 in cookies

5 ounces almonds (or 1 1/2 cups almond meal)
2 1/2 cups (350 g) flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp baking powder

8 ounces (226 g) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (156 g) sugar
1 egg, room temperature
zest from 1/2 lemon, scrubbed
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raspberry jam
powdered sugar for dusting

place almonds and approx half of the flour in a food processor, and process until the nuts are ground into a fine powder. combine with the rest of the flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and baking powder in a bowl and whisk together.

put butter into a large bowl and cream on medium speed for about a minute. add granulated sugar and beat for several minutes, until mixture is very light colored and fluffy. add in egg, lemon zest and vanilla, and beat until combined (2 minutes or so), scraping down the sides as necessary. add flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined, again, scraping sides as necessary. continue beating for a couple minutes until the dough starts coalescing into a ball. dump dough onto a parchment-lined surface and flatten into an inch-thick rough rectangle, then wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (up to 3 days).

when it's time to bake, preheat oven to 350°f and line baking sheets with parchment. remove dough from refrigerator and let rest at room temp for 10 minutes to soften some (but not too warm, or this dough becomes sticky). roll dough out to about 1/16" thick before cutting alternating hearts, placing shapes on baking sheets with at least an inch between each. any scraps can be re-rolled and cut again, chilling dough again if it becomes too soft to work with. use a smaller cutter to make a second heart in half of the cookies. bake the little hearts as well, or combine scraps for re-rolling.

bake cookies for 10-14 minutes. cookies should turn lightly golden, and the whole house should smell like toasted almonds. cool on wire racks before removing from baking sheets.

these cookies are similar to cannoli, in that assembling them too far ahead allows them to soften, as they absorb liquid from the jam (but I like them a little soft). when nearly ready to serve, spread the flat side of solid hearts with warm jam, sift powdered sugar over the cutout hearts, then sandwich together with jam in the center and sugar on top. if there's any jam left, fill the heart-shaped recess, as well.

{sunlight through buttery parchment}


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