Monday, February 14, 2011
Raspberry Linzer Hearts
I grew up making cookies with my mother and I've passed the same tradition down to my two daughters.
Tonight I was talking on the phone to my oldest daughter . . . and I told her that I had made Raspberry Linzer Hearts for Valentine's Day. "Ohhh," she said, and I definitely caught a plaintive note in her voice.
I promised to freeze a few of them for her -- not knowing for sure if they DO freeze -- but just in case, here is an offering from mother to daughter: a virtual "love heart."
This recipe comes from Mary Englebreit's Cookie Cookbook which I bought for my girls when they were beginning bakers. The subtitle of the book is "The Queen's Best Recipes" -- which reminds me of my bossy older daughter, who has ruled over us all since she was about two years old.
Here's the editorial recommendation:
Don't bring these out for the Super Bowl: they are labors of love for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and ladies' teas.
They actually aren't that difficult, especially if you are used to working with roll-out cookie dough.
But make them for family and friends and let them be impressed by how very hard you labored . . .
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) walnuts*
1 cup (4 ounces) whole blanched almonds* (ensure your nuts are fresh)
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' (icing) sugar, plus a bit extra for decoration
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 cornstarch (cornflour)
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
You will also need two heart-shaped cookie cutters -- approximately 2 1/2 inch and 1 1/2 inch.
Using a food processor, combine the walnuts and almonds and process, pulsing, until finely ground. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks. On a low speed, gradually add the flour and cornstarch, mixing just until incorporated. Add the ground nuts and mix until blended.
Divide the dough (it will be stiff) into four pieces -- and shape each of these into a disk. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate until firm (2 to 4 hours).
Preheat the oven to 325F/160C. Grease two baking sheets -- unless you use Silpats, as I do. Or, use parchment paper to line your cookie sheets.
On a floured surface, roll out one piece of dough at a time until approximately 1/4 inch thick.
Usint a 2 1/2 inch heart-shaped cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes -- depending on how thinly you rolled your cookies. They should just be starting to turn slightly golden, but you don't want to brown them. After they have slightly cooled on the baking sheet, transfer them to wire cooling racks.
For half of the cookies, you will need to cut out the large heart shape -- and then use a smaller (1 1/2 inch) heart-shaped cutter centered in the middle.
Bake and cool the cutout hearts.
Very important: Dust the cutout hearts with confectioners' sugar BEFORE you assemble them.
Spread a rounded teaspoon of jam onto each whole heart cookie bottom and then cover with the cutout heart tops.
Happy Valentine's Day!