Sunday, March 22, 2009

Linzer Tart Cookies

These are probably the prettiest cookies I've made so far. And best part is, they tasted really great!These are called Linzer Tart Cookies, after famous Linzer Tart Pies that are fruit filled. They're basically a sandwich cookie with a cut out top, filled with jelly and covered in confectioner's sugar. Delicious. Traditionally linzer cookies call for a dough with ground almonds, but I just made a simple sugar cookie dough and i didn't regret it.
These are a rolled cookie, which means you roll out the dough and cut out shapes. Other typical types of cookies are drop cookies, where you drop spoonfulls of dough onto a prepared baking sheet, and refridgerator cookies, where you form the dough into a log and slice off cookies before baking.
The only problem I encountered here was that when I rolled the dough out, it wasn't even in all places, so some of the cookies browned quicker than others. Nothing that covering it in white, powdery sugar couldn't solve.
Also, though I used the same cookie cutter for all the cookies, they inevitably turn out slighly different sizes because of the stretching that occurs when you move them from counter to baking sheet - so its always a trick to match up bottoms to tops that are about the same size. And then eat all the ones that are left at the end.The recipe for these, as many rolled out cookie recipes will say, called for the dough to be refridgerated overnight. Which requires both foresight and patience. Neither of which are my strong suits. So I made the dough and stuck it in the freezer for a couple hours, then moved it to the fridge for about an hour before I rolled it out. Keep whatever dough you're not using in the fridge, just so it is easier to work with. The refridgeration doesn't change the dough, it just makes it easier to roll and cut out.
My point was, that the recipe isn't very difficult, neither are any of the steps, but they are time consuming and not great for impatient or inexperienced bakers. Come back to these though, you won't regret it.
The dough for these cookies is very simple, but somehow, of course, I got off track. I was contemplating halving the recipe, since it said it made 6 dozen rounds, meaning 3 dozen sandwich cookies, which is quite alot. Ultimately, I decided to make the recipe as is, but somehow, I doubled just one of the ingredients, and realized shortly afterwards. At this point, I had to double the entire recipe to save what I had already made, which involved dumping the whole thing out of my mixer, since it never would have fit, and putting it in a separate bowl, detaching my stand mixer and converting it to a hand mixer, and having at the dough until totally mixed.
Additionally, this resulted in an extreme excess in sugar cookie dough - never a bad thing in my opinion - but what to do with it?
Stay tuned on Tuesday to find out the fate of the remaining cookie dough.

Tip of the Day: If you make cookie dough in advance it'll keep in the fridge for several days until you find time to bake it - or freeze for even longer.

Ultimate Sugar Cookies (via Good Housekeeping Great Baking book)
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1.5 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup seedless raspberry jam
confectioner's sugar

Beat together butter and sugar until light and creamy.
Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Gradually mix in flour, baking powder and salt.
Shape dough into 4 balls and wrap in wax paper and refridgerate overnight (or freeze for a few hours).
Lightly flour your counter or surface, and roll out dough 1/4 of an inch thick.
With 3 or 4 inch round cutter cut out as many shapes as possible.
Using a small round or other shaped cutter cut out the centers of half the cookies. Reserve the cut outs with the trimmings for rerolling.
Reroll the dough and the remaining dough as many times as necessary and keep track of the number of whole cookies and cut out cookies. They must match up.
Bake the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet for 12 to 15 minutes at 350F, without letting them get brown.
Transfer to wire racks to cool.
When completely cool, spread one whole cookie with a thin layer of jam (I microwaved it first to loosen it up) and press a cut out cookie on top. Return to rack to set and continue with remaining cookies.
When completely, sift confectioner's sugar gently over the cookies.

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