Essence of Eats: Catherine’s ‘Linzer’ Cookies

Catherine Parrotta of FOX25 Boston graciously agreed to guest post about one of her favorite cookie recipes, the Linzer cookie. Using Ina Garten’s recipe, which is adapted from Eli Zabar’s, Linzer cookies originate from the “Linzertorte” which was created in the city of Linz, Austria, sometime in the early 1700s. While the original recipe calls for almond (of course!) this one uses delicious sugar cookies to sandwich raspberry preserves and are dusted with a layer of confectioner’s sugar to create one of the prettiest cookies around. Use mini-holiday cookie-cutters to make yours merry and bright, and since it looks like we’re having a snowless Christmas in New England, use an extra pinch of confectioner’s sugar! Follow Catherine on Twitter @CParrottaFox25.

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Tis the season for making days merry and bright! And what better way than by bringing a beautiful homemade treat to the holiday table? When I was a child, I used to love helping my mother bake for the holidays. I started baking my own desserts as a teenager, and now I’ve assumed the role of “Holiday Family Baker!”

While I’m fortunate to have a treasure trove of Italian-American family recipes, I started branching out a few years ago. Back in 2011, I fell in love with all things Austrian after a trip to Salzburg and I found myself searching for Austrian dessert recipes. I ended up finding this recipe, which immediately became a Christmas favorite for my family. Aesthetically, these treats are a festive addition to the table, with their red jam visible through cut out shapes, surrounded by a dusting of white confectioners sugar. Taste wise, the cookies are beautifully light with a fruity filling. Be warned…these aren’t quick cookies to make. However, the result is worth the effort. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family does! 

(photo via Catherine Parrotta)

(photo via Catherine Parrotta)

 

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 3 1/2 cups flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup raspberry preserves 
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting 
  • Cookie cutters 

NOTE: You can use any cookie cutters you want, but you’ll need a small one to make the cut out in the top cookie. After my first few years of making these cookies, I ended up buying a Linzer cookie cutter set, which was around $10. 

Let’s make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.

  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk.

  4. I prefer to work with room temperature dough, even though the recipe says to wrap the dough in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. (I tried it this way before, but I found the dough was too solidified to work with. The last two times, I worked with the dough at room temperature and had more success.)

  5. Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 2 3/4-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. With 1/2 of the rounds, cut a hole from the middle of each round with a heart or spade shaped cutter. (That’s just a suggestion from the original recipe. You can use whatever shape you like!) The dough will be somewhat crumbly, which is to be expected. At times I’ll sprinkle tiny drops of water on it to make it a bit easier to work with.

  6. Place all the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes. This year, I lined my baking sheets with parchment paper for baking, and was pleased with how that worked out. 

  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. (The original recipe suggests baking the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. However, I found that to be too long. In my old oven, they were ready in 8 minutes. In my current oven, the bake time is 10-12 minutes.)

  8. Allow cookies to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners’ sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confectioners’ sugar on the top.

    Most importantly, enjoy! Merry Christmas!

 

 

(adapted from The Barefoot Contessa)

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