Todays recipe is inspired by a classic Austrian dessert, the Linzer Torte. Traditionally made with a nut rich dough and a redcurrant jam this is a cookie based version using hazelnuts and raspberry jam. Whilst I associate this with Christmas they really do suit any time of year. As it is nearing valentines day I thought the cutout would be nice as a heart, a slight nod to romance. Obviously if your heart is black, or your just making them at some other time of year you can use any shape of small cookie cutter instead.
Hazelnut Linzer Cookies
Makes about 30
300g plain flour
75g ground hazelnuts
1/2 tsp salt
200g caster sugar
225g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
1/2 vanilla extract
raspberry jam to fill the cookies
To make the cookie dough mix together the flour, hazelnuts and salt. In a large bowl using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. You’re not looking for cake levels of light and fluffy but you do want to work a little lightness into the mixture to make a lighter, better textured cookie, mixing for about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and beat to until fully combined before adding in the egg. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the flour is just worked into the dough. Be careful not to overmix the dough at this stage as it will make the cookies tough and chewy.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and use your hands to gently form into a uniform dough. Divide into two equal portions and press into discs, wrapping in clingfilm and then refrigerating until firm.
When you’re ready to roll out the cookies preheat the oven to 160C (140C fan) and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured worksurface roll out a portion of dough until it is about 3-4mm thick and then using a 6cm round cookie cutter cut as many cookies as possible, setting the scraps aside. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking trays and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat this process with the second portion of dough. Gently reform the scraps of dough into a ball and then refrigerate as before whilst you bake off the cookies. This dough can be rolled out again for more cookies.
Take the cookies from the fridge and use a small heart shaped cookie cutter to remove the middle from half of the cookies. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-18 minutes or until just starting to turn golden on the edges. I bake the cookies lower than usual as it crisps the cookies evenly throughout without too much browning. Allow to cool on the baking tray for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To assemble the cookies place a teaspoon of raspberry jam onto each base cookie and spread slightly towards the edge. Dust all the top cookies with icing sugar then place one on top of each bottom cookie, sandwiching together. Once assembled the cookies are best on that day as the jam will eventually soften the cookies.