Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas cooking recap

Every year I get drafted into making two things at Christmas: our now-traditional Christmas day breakfast crepes, and cookies.

This year, along with the usual gingerbread and sugar cookies, I decided to try something a little fancier, and found Martha Stewart's Linzer sandwich cookies. They looked complicated, but ended up being not much more difficult than gingerbread cookies.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts (I ended up adding some almond to mine because the bag of hazelnuts I bought turned out to be slightly less than a cup)
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter (it's so much easier if you take this out a few hours before...!)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • confectioner's sugar
  • jam (raspberry or cherry will do, but I was told that red currant is traditional so I hunted all over {okay in three grocery stores} for some. It was delicious, so I do recommend it if you can find it!)
  • you will also need two cookie cutters - one that is large and round and one that is small (see pictures)
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. When the oven is ready, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them though... mine could have used a couple more minutes, but you don't want them to burn! When the nuts have cooled, rub the skins off using your fingers or, for more stubborn ones, a clean towel.

Using a food processor, grind the nuts as finely as possible. I didn't have a food processor, so I destroyed the motor of my mother-in-law's coffee grinder instead. Fortunately she wasn't upset because it was only $10 and she ended up getting another one for Christmas, totally coincidentally. If there are some chunks left it's not a big deal because it'll be interesting in the finished cookie... but try to get most of the nuts to a salt-like consistency. Set aside for now.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. If you are so privileged, you can use an electric mixer. I used my good old muscles. Add egg, and beat until smooth. Mix in vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ground hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In parts, add to butter mixture and stir until combined. I had to use my hands at the end. 

Get two large pieces of plastic wrap, and divide the dough onto each piece. Flatten to form a disk, then wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out the cookies using the large circular cutter and place onto a baking tray. Using the small cutter, cut out the centres of half of the cookies. Bake for about 12-16 minutes, checking to make sure the edges don't get too brown. Cool on wire racks.

Separate the whole cookies from the cookies with the cut-out centre. First, sift some confectioner's sugar over the cookies with the cut-out centre. Then, spread some jam on the whole cookies. Then make a sandwich!

I thought these cookies were super tasty - a nice break from all the chocolate we had, and the nuttiness combined with the tartness of the currant jam was delish!


  1. those are beautiful! almost too pretty to eat.

    almost. :)

  2. Those sound delicious! And they look so pretty too!

  3. Oh these sound absolutely delish, Victoria!! I baked cookies with a jam center this holiday, they were super easy and super yummy ... if you are interested, here is a link to the recipe...

    Sugared Black Raspberry Tea Cookies - - Yumm!!:

    Hope your new year is off to a fantastic start :)


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