Dec 4, 2009

20 Days of Cookies - Day 4

Day 4: Linzer Cookie Snowflakes
This recipe requires a snowflake shaped cookie cutter. The sprinkling of powdered sugar overtop is the ultimate finishing touch that sends this cookies into winter wonderland! You may use your favorite jam as filling, but I prefer raspberry because of its deep red color.

1 cup hazelnuts or slivered almonds, 
 toasted and skinned

8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at 
 room temperature

1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. finely grated orange or lemon zest

3⁄4 tsp. vanilla extract

1⁄4 tsp. almond extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. salt

About 1⁄4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a food processor, finely grind the hazelnuts using short pulses. Set aside.

• In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until combined. Reduce the speed to low. Add the egg yolk, orange zest, vanilla and almond extract and beat until blended.

• Sift together the flour, cinnamon and salt into another bowl. Add the ground hazelnuts and stir to blend. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed or stir with a wooden spoon until blended. The dough should be soft. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide into 4 equal portions and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

• Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

• Remove 1 portion of the dough at a time from the refrigerator, place between 2 sheets of waxed paper and roll out 1⁄4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter about 2 1⁄2 inches in diameter, cut out the cookies. Using a 1 1⁄4-inch cutter, cut a hole in the center of half of the cookies. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough, then reroll the dough scraps as needed to make 24 cutouts total, cutting holes in half of them. If the dough becomes sticky, wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes before rolling out.

• Using a thin spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks. Loosen the cookies with the spatula, but leave the cookies on the sheets until thoroughly cooled.

• To assemble, spread the solid cookies with a thin layer (about 1 tsp.) of raspberry jam to within about 1⁄4 inch of the edges. Dust the cutout cookies generously with confectioners' sugar. Top the solid cookies with the cutout cookies.

Makes 1 dozen cookies.

(Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

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