Having family visiting this weekend inspired this new little treat. One of my favorite cookies at bakery shops (but not always the tastiest given neglectful baking), I decided to give this one a try.
Linzer sablés (or Linzer “eyes”) are the cookie-sized version of the Linzertorte, a short, crumbly Austrian torte with a lattice design on top. The dough is traditionally made with hazelnuts (or almonds) and is covered with a filling of redcurrant, raspberry or apricot jam or preserves. In the cookie version, the filling is sandwiched by fluted round-shaped dough and the top round has a donut-like hole cut in the center allowing the filling to peak through. Cute already, the assembled cookies are topped with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar making them simply irresistible.
Now that we got our history lesson out of the way, I will confess Bella’s Linzers do not follow tradition. I took a number of liberties. For starters, I did not use nuts in the dough. I also didn’t use cinammon, lemon zest/juice or eggs and instead made the dough resemble something like shortbread. You can say these are my version of a ‘purist’ Linzer cookie. =)
The end result is delish. The dough is crumbly, melts in your mouth and has a hint of salt that tastes incredible with the sweet filling. I used raspberry preserves for these, but am intent on using apricot next time (only because I love apricot). Make sure you buy good jam or preserves (or make it yourself) as this will make a ton of difference in bringing it all together.
Here is my little helper in action…confined to her chair this time. After dumping flour all over me, the stove and the dog, she was placed in a restricted area. This didn’t deter her from eating the flour…not the dough…the raw flour, which she happily ate in handfuls as she claimed the obvious…”mmmmmm…que rico”.
~ 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
~ 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
~ 1/2 teaspoon salt
~ 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
~ 1 8 oz jar of raspberry (or other) good fruit preserve or jam
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter. Alternately, you can knead the dough with your hands. Pulse (or knead)until dough comes together into a ball. If the dough is too sticky add a little more flour so that you can shape the soft dough into a ball. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and roll the dough 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2-inch fluted round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Bring the dough scraps together and gently press into a ball. Flour your work surface, re-roll 1/8-inch thick and cut out more rounds. Cut a donut-like hole in the middle of half of the cookies and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Make sure each solid cookie has a donut-holed partner.
Bake the cookies until they are golden and firm, about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely, about 25 minutes. This recipe should yield 16 – 18 sandwich cookies, which is about 32 – 36 single cookies.
Place all of the donut-holed cookies on a board and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Set aside. Spread preserves on the flat side of a solid cookie and sandwich with dusted, holed cookie (non-dusted side down). Place the cookies on a platter and serve.