This week’s sweet was inspired by Linzer cookies, the traditional Austrian layered cookie. I made them without using almonds or hazelnuts, so while looking similar to a Linzer cookie, they are better described as butter-y goodness with a touch of raspberry.
You will need two cookie cutters of the same shape, one large and one pretty small. I used a 2.75″ star and a 1.25″ star. My favorite place to get cookie cutters is Off the Beaten Path. They ship around the world and if you are in the Kansas City area, you can drop by to pick up your order. Browsing their warehouse is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon!
Almost Linzer Cookies
6 cups of my favorite flour blend
1 T. xanthan gum
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups butter (4 sticks)
2 t. vanilla bean paste
1 jar raspberry jam, jelly, preserves or fruit spread (I used Trader Joe’s organic raspberry fruit spread)
Cream sugar and butter until fluffy using an electric mixer, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients separately, adding to the butter mixture one cup at a time. Mix well.
Split the dough into two equal parts. Place one part on top of a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Place another piece of plastic wrap on top, roll the edges up and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Repeat with other half of dough. Instead of turning the dough out onto a floured surface, you can now roll it out between the pieces of plastic wrap and not add any additional flour to the already-perfect dough!
You will need to cut out half of the dough in solid large stars and the other half will be cut out first with the large star and then cut the little star out of the middle. This is tricky! If you do this on the counter and then try to move them, you will lose the star shape.
Here’s the trick to this: place the dough (rolled out) onto your cookie sheet. Cut the large star out and remove the excess dough. Now cut the small star out in the middle. By cutting them out on the cookie sheet, you can preserve the star shape.
Bake cookies at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. I suggest baking the full stars separately from the star outlines, as they will cook a bit quicker.
Move cookies to cooling rack. Once cool, warm the jam in the microwave for 30 seconds to thin it a little bit. If it is too thin, let it cool a little before using. Spread a scant teaspoon of raspberry jam on top near the center of a full star. Place a cutout star cookie on top. You may add a bit more into the star cutout in the center to fill the hole.
This week’s Sweet Friend is Christina. I know I promised to move on from friends I know from a car club, but that’s how I know Christina. Except that she doesn’t belong to the car club. She doesn’t own “the car” nor has she ever. A good friend who does own “the car” is a long-time friend of Christina and her now-teenage son. This mutual friend would bring Christina’s super-cool kid to car events and that’s how I got to know her!
Yes, I just said super-cool and teenager in the same paragraph. That alone says a lot about Christina. What an amazing woman to have raised a teenager that is actually enjoyable to hang out with. Christina is also a creative genius, talented photographer and patient wife of a cycling fan.
I shared these cookies with Christina at the annual 4th of July BBQ she and her husband host. I arrived late but was still treated to an enormous buffet of gourmet goodies. Christina has a diverse group of friends, yet they all seem to share a love of food, really good food. I chatted with new friends about olive oil, Schaum torte, quinoa, artisan cheese and nutrient-deficiency amongst vegetarians all at the same gathering. Christina has a really terrific circle of friends, which is no surprise considering how terrific she is!