By now, CVS has probably already put it’s red-packaged candies on the discount shelf, but in my opinion, you can never have too many sweet things!
I mean love. You can never have too much love. Love in the form of Black Raspberry Linzer Cookies! Mmm.
When I was growing up, Sunday was the day for my family’s weekly bagel run at Zaro’s & if we were lucky, a chance to pick out one of the face-sized cookies to munch on through the day. Oftentimes, the cookies varied with the season & were decorated accordingly with that frosting that shattered into my teeth with a delicious snap at each bite. If I wasn’t in the mood to break a tooth, the rainbow-sprinkled sugar cookies that crumbled before they even got to my mouth fit the bill. & on the rare occasion of a very sweet treat kind of day, the Linzer cookie, with a bubble of red jam (the actual fruit flavor was indiscernable) domed at the center, was my pick.
Unlike Oreos, these cookies could not be pulled apart into individual halves, so I had to find an equally pleasing method of consumption: breaking them in half & biting into the half moons of jam first before starting in on the main cookie event. It was just jammy enough to make my teeth stick together & come apart without the need for too much fluid rescue. Is that love, or what?
Linzer cookies are the diminutive form of the Linzertorte, a tart that originated in Linz, Austria, thought to be the oldest tart in the world. Recipes for it can be found dating back to 1653 & back then, it was made using clarified butter & lemon juice; and it was baked in a silver bowl, filled with black currant jam, & topped with a lattice crust. & ground nuts were always used in place of the majority of the flour.
Today, the Linzer cookie can be found everywhere from Austria to Zaro’s, thankfully. If the cut-out is round, it even has a special Austrian name: Linzer Augen, or Linzer eyes. I personally think they taste best that way (with the round cut-out, not with eyes) but it’s a good idea not to think of body parts when biting into that gooey center.
The cookies themselves have absolutely no relation to Valentine’s Day, though since they can be cut into various shapes & they follow the red & white theme of the day, they’re an acceptable February 14th confection.
& if you’re into that sort of thing - extrapolation, I mean - these cookies are really great for representing the other V-day. At least they’re onsiderably more subtle than certain representations made this time of year at a certain liberal-arts college in Poughkeepsie that really is co-ed.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon maple (or regular vanilla) extract
- 1 + 1/2 cups almond meal
- 1 + 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 cup black raspberry preserves (or any variety you prefer)
Cream together sugar & butter, then beat in the egg & extract. Stir in the flours, zest, salt, cinnamon, & nutmeg until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic & refrigerate for an hour.
When its good & chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, & lightly flour a work surface. Roll the dough out till it’s 1/8 of an inch thick. Use the rim of a glass or your favorite cookie cutter to cut out shapes, & use a smaller rim of a glass cookie cutter to punch a hole in half the cookies.
Bake cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets for 5-7 minutes until they start to brown. Let them cool for at least an hour.
Place all your “top” cookies - the ones with holes punched in them - on a place or cookie sheet &, using a sifter, sprinkle them all with the powdered sugar. Turn the “bottom” cookies upside-down & put a teaspoon or so dollop of the preserves on top. Sandwich the tops & bottoms together, making sure the preserves squish through the hole & look scrumptious.
Eat & Enjoy!