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Great Christmas Cookie Recipes: Walnut Linzer Cookies

The holiday season somehow makes baking more enticing; I’m more inclined to make the effort and bake fancy cookies at this time of year than any other. Linzer cookies are some of my favorites – simple butter cookies sandwiched with jam, with a window to allow a peek of sweet colour. If you can find tiny star, gingerbread man or other festive cut-outs, use it to cut a shape out of the top layer. Finely chopped walnuts makes them even more festive.

Believed to have originated in the City of Linz, Germany, Linzer cookies are traditionally two round cookies held together with a layer of preserves or jam. The raspberry fruit filling used in this soft buttery cookie complements the nutty flavour of the walnuts.

How to toast walnuts: In large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast walnut halves or pieces, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Walnut Linzer Cookies

Pastry:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup California walnuts, toasted and finely ground
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Icing:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp rum or vanilla
1/4 cup California walnuts, finely chopped

Filling:
1 cup raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350ËšF.

In bowl beat butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

In small bowl whisk together flour, walnuts and cinnamon.

Stir flour mixture into butter until well blended. Divide dough into three pieces and shape into discs. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each disc to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 1 1/2 inch round fluted cookie cutter, cut dough into rounds. Use a small cutter to make holes in the centre of half of the rounds. Arrange on parchment-lined baking sheets about 1-inch (2.5 cm) apart and chill in fridge for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies in the centre of preheated oven, 1 sheet at a time, until cookies are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

In bowl, whisk together icing sugar and rum. Brush over cookies with cutouts and sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts. Spoon approximately 1 tsp (5 mL) of the jam onto the bottom side of the solid cookies. Top with cutout cookies. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Recipe & photo courtesy of walnutinfo.com

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