Spiced Linzer Heart Cookies + Video
Oh haiiii. Valentine's Day is next Tuesday. That's less than a week. And I have just the thing for you: spiced Linzer heart cookies.
Linzer cookies in heart shapes, because it's all about the love on Valentine's Day. With that raspberry jam in the center, because red and hearts and love go hand in hand (in hand). And spiced, because who doesn't like to spice things up? And confectioner's sugar sprinkled on top, because this day is all about sweetness too.
And a video, because we need to be practical, and some of you have never made Linzer cookies and have no clue how to make 'em and would appreciate a video tutorial showing you how to create these spiced Linzer heart cookies with raspberry jam for Valentine's Day:
Or, watch it on Youtube.
So what's a Linzer cookie? It's a spin-off of the Linzer torte, which is a tart made with a buttery dough (usually with ground nuts in it), a jam filling, and a lattice crust on top.
But ain't nobody got time for a fancy Linzer torte. I mean, maybe you do have time. Even on Valentine's Day. But tarts are also a way scarier endeavor.
So Linzer cookies it is. Same buttery dough filled with ground nuts, same glistening jam center, and same buttery dough on top, forming a jam cookie sandwich. The most beautiful sandwich I ever did see.
Now, a sugar cookie made with just flour is (hopefully) delicious and buttery and crispy. But it doesn't compare to a sugar cookie made with ground almonds in addition to the flour. There's an extra tenderness, an extra crunch, and an extra depth of flavor in every bite that you just won't find in your classic cut-out cookie.
Yes, these Linzer heart cookies are cut-out cookies. The type of cookies that are made from a dough that has to be chilled in the fridge/freezer before it's rolled out so that the cookies don't spread too much in the oven.
So you make the dough, freeze it for like 20 minutes, roll the dough out, cut out your shapes, bake the cookies, and eat the cookies. Preferably in that order, although eating inconspicuous amounts of the dough before baking it is acceptable.
About the spiced part. There's cinnamon in these Linzer cookies. And nutmeg. And ginger. And even black pepper. Yes, black pepper. I know, sounds odd. But trust me, it adds a kick of flavor that you taste at the back of your tongue that you don't wanna be skimping on.
And the jam. I chose raspberry because the color seemed appropriate for our Valentine's Day theme. But feel free to use blackberry jam or strawberry jam or blueberry jam or plum jam (is that a thing?) or apricot jam.
After you roll out your cookie dough and are ready to cut out the heart shapes, a special method is used to achieve those hollowed out centers in the top cookies of the Linzer sandwiches for the jam to peek through.
It's simple enough: just cut out smaller hearts in the centers of half of your cookies. And then, after the cookies are baked, the jam is placed on a cookie without a hole, after which you place a cookie that does have a hole on top, forming your beautiful sandwich.
Tender, buttery, crispy, crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth, kick of spice, Linzer heart cookies filled with sweet, glossy jam and topped with another tender, buttery, crispy, crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth, kick of spice, Linzer heart cookie.
Spiced Linzer Heart Cookies
Yield: varies depending on cookie size/shape, but at least 24 Linzer sandwiches (or 48 cookies)
2 sticks (8 oz.) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups almond meal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
- jam of choice for filling, about 1/2 cup (I used raspberry)
- confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream together the butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract and continue creaming until mixture is smooth and fluffy.
Add in rest of ingredients and mix until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic and freeze for about 25 minutes or refrigerate for an hour, or until dough is cold and hardened.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Flour countertop, top of dough, and rolling pin. Soften the dough a bit by pressing down on it with the warmth of your hands, then roll out until about 1/8th-inch thick.
Cut out as many hearts* with heart cookie cutter as can. Cut out smaller hearts in the centers of half of the cookies with a smaller heart cookie cutter. Gather the scrap dough and repeat process.
Place cookies onto baking sheets (don't need to space out too much because they won't really spread) and bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden. Let cool before filling.
Drop a dollop (about 1/2 teaspoon) of jam onto the centers of all the cookies without holes. Spread jam slightly. Top with the holed cookies, forming sandwich. Dust tops with confectioner's sugar.
*Note: you can cut out the cookies into any shape you desire - square, circle etc. - and also cut out the centers with another shape of your choice.