If Christmas is the king of all holidays, these pretty little cookies are queen of all holiday cookies. I just love the delicate shapes and soft fallen-snow texture against the rich raspberry tone of the jam. So simple yet timelessly elegant, they are easily the belle of the the holiday ball.
With that said, I am still continuing my spirt(s) of the season series by spiking some of my favorite holiday treats. Things have been heavy with whisky and bourbon so this recipe is for all of the dainty lightweights out there. The classic linzer gets a taste of my most beloved drinking pal, Pinot Noir. Sometimes I find jams to be too sweet and sugary, so this Raspberry Pinot Noir Jam from King Estate Winery is my jam. The pinot mellows out the sweetness and gives the jam a luxurious depth with subtle notes of toasted oak. This jam tastes divine with the nuttiness of the linzers and it is just as delicious on a simple slice of toast.
This recipe is fairly simple and the results are stunning. A box of these beauties would make for a gorgeous and interesting “plus one” for any festive holiday celebration this time of year.
These classic hazelnut Linzer Cookies toast the spirit of the season with a raspberry pinot noir filling.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewarts Linzer Sandwiches Recipe.
- filberts (hazelnuts) - 1 cup
- unsalted butter at room temperature - 1 cup (2 sticks)
- granulated sugar - 1/2 cup
- egg at room temperature - 1
- pure vanilla extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- almond extract - 1/2 teaspoon (you can also omit the almond and use 1 teaspoon of vanilla instead)
- all purpose flour - 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons, plus more for work surface
- baking powder - 1 teaspoon
- ground cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
- ground nutmeg - 1/2 teaspoon
- salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- powdered sugar - 1/4 cup for dusting
- raspberry pinot noir jam (or any jam you prefer) - 2/3 cup
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately transfer nuts to a clean towel. Vigorously rub the nuts in the towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. Don't worry too much about leaving some skin on the nuts, it adds a nice texture and color to the cookies. Set nuts aside until completely cool.
Place the hazelnuts and a couple of the teaspoons from the the measured flour in a food processor. Pulse the nuts in the processor until finely ground. Set aside. (Hint: the flour will absorb the oils from the nuts and will prevent a nut butter from forming in the food processor)
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add egg, vanilla and almond extract. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Whisk together reserved hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add to butter mixture; beat on low until combined, about 2 minutes.
Form dough into two flattened disks and wrap each with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line two baking sheets lined with Silpat mats or parchment paper. Have cookie cutters at the ready. I used a 2 1/2-inch round fluted round cookie cutter, 2 1/2-inch round cutter, and a couple of 1-inch smaller holiday shaped cookie cutters. You can get creative with sizes and shapes but just remember to account for the size and shapes when baking.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using the larger cookie cutters, cut out cookies. With a wide and thin spatula, gently transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Using the smaller cutter, cut the centers out of half of the cookies.
Combine scraps and re-roll to cut more cookies. You can either add the center cutouts to the scraps or bake up some small decorative shaped cookies like I did.
Repeat rolling and cutting with the other half of the dough.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are golden, rotating the pans halfway through. Remove from oven; place on wire racks until completely cool. FYI, I made various shapes and sizes. If you do the same, be sure to bake the cookies of similar size together, as smaller cookies will bake quicker than the larger cookies.
Lightly sift the powdered sugar sugar over the decorative tops; set aside. Spread a small spoonful of jam on the bottoms of each cookie, and sandwich with the sugar-dusted tops.