Now, onto cookies! I make cookies…almost never. I also buy cookies…almost never. Cookies are really good though, aren’t they? That’s precisely why I don’t keep them in the house. Until they change the serving of Oreos to an entire line or make it so cookies taste like cilantro or mayo and are therefore inedible, I will eat far too many. You may think, “they are perfectly portioned,” but I think, “they are small enough that I can have another one!” The good thing about cookies, though, is that they are so easy to bring somewhere else. You can eat a cookie to see if it’s good and still bring a dozen into work, but you can’t make a cake at home and then bring it to work with a missing piece. At least in theory. Also, why would I share cake?
Anyway, these cookies are practically health food. They have fruit in them (kind of) and not a whole lot of sugar at all. I loved the hint of cinnamon and clove in these, which I am not used to with most linzer cookies. We made these with almonds since I had some at home already, but I’m a sucker for a hazelnut linzer for sure. Like I do with Dorie’s standard sablés (still one of my favorite holiday cookies, for the record), I added a teaspoon of vanilla to these. I just feel like vanilla is a requirement for cookies. Or any baking, really.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
1-1/2 cups finely ground almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. water
1/2 cup (8 Tbsp./1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup jam (I used seedless raspberry) and 1 tsp. water
confectioners sugar (optional)
Whisk together the ground nuts, flour, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Using a fork, stir the egg, vanilla, and water together in a small bowl.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or a hand mixer with a large bowl), beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the egg mixture and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and add the nut mixture, mixing only until just combined (if there are some crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, finish mixing with your hands or a spatula).
Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, put the dough between two large sheets of wax or parchment paper. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk, roll out the dough with a rolling pin, turning it over frequently so that the paper doesn’t cut into it, until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Leave the dough in the paper and repeat with the second piece of dough. Transfer the wrapped dough to a baking sheet or cutting board (to keep it flat) and refrigerate or freeze it until it is very firm, about 2 hours in the refrigerator or 45 minutes in the freezer.
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Peel off the top sheet of waxed paper from one piece of dough and, using a 2-inch cookie cutter cut out as many cookies as you can. If you want to have a peekaboo cutout, use the end of a piping tip to cut out a very small circle from the centers of half the cookies. Transfer the rounds to the baking sheets, leaving a little space between the cookies.
Bake the cookies for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden, dry, and just firm to the touch (Dorie says to bake them one sheet at a time; I don’t, but switch the position of the pans midway through). Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.
Place the jam in a small saucepan or in a microwaveable bowl and stir in the 1 teaspoon water. Bring to a boil over low heat or in the microwave. Let the jam cool slightly, then turn half of the cookies flat side up and place about 1/2 teaspoon jam in the center of each cookie; sandwich with the remaining cookies. (Your jam might look really runny at first but if you let it cool slightly, it should thicken up.)
If you want, dust with confectioners sugar before serving.