If you’re looking for a distraction from the news these days, baking cookies might just be the way to go. There are still co-workers and neighbors and holiday guests who would love it if you offered them a plate of these festive little linzer cookies. And then there’s always the no holds barred distraction of sitting in the corner and eating them yourself.
In any case, it’s the holidays, and no one is going to question why you’re baking cookies. Here’s how much I’ve needed to distract myself. Does this seem excessive?…
Just kidding. (About making all of these myself). Actually this is a photo of the cookies made at our annual family cookie party this year, which included snickerdoodles, Russian tea cakes (aka snowballs), peanut butter blossoms, shortbread cookies, sugar cookies, Grinch cookies, cranberry/white chocolate/macadamia nut cookies and these linzer torte cookies. The last two cookies in that list were my contributions to the event.
So if you're feeling the need for a little holiday fun and cheer right about now, you might consider making some of these scrumptious little linzer cookies. First of all, they're just so pretty and festive, right? Secondly, to increase the deliciousness quotient, I added a layer of Nutella to the raspberry filling (because chocolate and raspberry), and while that's not exactly traditional, it was dang awesome in there.
And as an added bonus, they really are fun to make! Once you've got your dough made and chilled, you just roll it out and cut out your cookie rounds and then cut out the center of half of them using whatever little cutter you might have on hand.
I wanted to make these a little smaller than usual, so I used a 2 1/4-inch fluted cutter for the cookie and a 3/4-inch star cutter for the center. I also did some with circle centers and used the round end of a pastry nozzle for that. Any cutters will work here, so be creative.
Once you have your cookies made and cooled, you'll want to dust the cutout halves with powdered sugar. I decided to do this before assembling, so that the raspberry jam stars would really stand out. Then you're just going to take one of those little cookie rounds and spread a little Nutella on it,
And then spread a little raspberry jam on top of that. And then place a star cookie on top! You're done!
Before I go any further, I just have to say that while these cookies are incredibly fun and delicious with all of that jam and chocolate and powdered sugar, you might be happy just eating them plain. I had all of the grandkids here after I made these and dusted the star and circle cutouts with powdered sugar and they ate every last one.
Yeah, I know, they had powdered sugar on them, so of course they ate them, but the cookie itself was a huge hit, owing to its shortbread-like qualities. Traditional linzer torte cookies have almond in them, so this dough is made with almond flour (and maybe a little butter) which makes them very, very eatable.
Distractions aside, there really is nothing quite like a festive little cookie to bring a little holiday cheer to your afternoon coffee. If you're into spreading the cheer, here's the recipe...
Raspberry-Nutella Holiday Linzer cookies
These are such fun cookies to make. I used a 2 1/4-inch fluted cutter for the cookies and then a 3/4-inch star cutter for the cutouts. I rolled my dough thinner than called for which makes a more delicate cookie. Just watch them closely in the oven... they don't take long to cook! You might not want to spread all of your cookies with jam and Nutella, as they’re really really good eaten plain.
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats
Makes about 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cutters
1 1/4 cups (about 7 ounces) almond flour
2 cups (about 10 ounces) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 cup confectioners sugar, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg1 cup raspberry jam
1 cup Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut) spread
Adjust oven rack to middle and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and 1 cup confectioners sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and egg and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Divide dough into two equal portions, wrap in plastic wrap, and let chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll out one ball of dough to a rectangle roughly 8-inches by 12-inches and 1/8-inch thick (I rolled mine a little thinner). Using the larger of your two cookie cutters, cut out an even number of cookies. Use the smaller cutter to cut holes in centers of half of cookies. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet, leaving 1/2-inch space between each cookie. Gather cookie scraps and re-roll until 1/8th-inch thick. Stamp more cookies. Continue until all of the dough is used up and the baking sheets are full.
Bake cookies until golden, about 15 minutes, rotating back to front and top to bottom once during baking.
Let cookies sit at room temperature until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Sprinkle the cutout halves with powdered sugar. Spread the bottom halves with jam and then Nutella. Top with a cut-out cookie. Serve.
Uneaten (ha!) cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 or 4 days.