Friday, December 18, 2009

December 19th-Hazelnut Linzers

It is known that in one Bikram Yoga class, you may burn 1000 calories. Hallelujah! This is how I manage my cookie calories. It is a difficult class but worth feeling good in that holiday dress. On this holiday weekend you may be baking sweet treats, throwing or attending a holiday party, or all the above. Prince Charming and I are headed to a big all-out party. I may sneak my camera in to get a few rum punch/yule log photos for you.

Cookies are so cool! The varieties of these tiny cakes are never ending. Austria's most famous dessert, the Linzertorte, is believed to have originated in the City of Linz. The traditional and popular Christmas Linzer cookie employs the same name and dough as the Linzertorte. The dough is cut into cookies and two of them make a sandwich around the preserves. The top of the cookie has a small cutout in its center, thus exposing the sparkling preserves and adding a visual appeal. Traditionally the cookies are circular but hearts and squares are very popular. I filled the cookies with blackberry jam. My good friend picked the wild berries on her land and I made jam out of them. Divine.

This recipe makes a very flavorful Linzer. You can easily find a linzer cookie cutter at your local cooks store. Be sure that your jelly is pureed.

Hazelnut Linzer Cookies with Blackberry Jam
Makes about 36 Sandwiches

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar plus more for decorating
zest of 2 1/2 oranges
zest of 1 1/2 lemons
3 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups hazelnuts, finely ground in the food processor (about 1 1/2 cups ground)

1 cup blackberry preserves

1. Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Beat butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, and zest in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks. Beat in dry ingredients, then add nuts. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into a disc. Wrap; chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

2. Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper. Roll out half of the dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Using 2-inch round cutter, cut out center of half of rounds to make rings. Transfer rounds and rings to prepared baking trays. gather dough scraps; chill.

3. Bake cookies until golden, reversing trays after 10 minutes, about 22 minutes total. Cool completely on sheets. Repeat until all the dough is used. Do ahead. Store airtight at room temperature up to 2 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.

4. Arrange cookie rings on work surface. Sift powdered sugar over. Spread 1 teaspoon jam on each cookie rounds. Press rings onto jam rounds.

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