Saturday, 12 December 2009
I really wanted to start this post with some fascinating information about Linzer biscuits... Unfortunately, I don't have any. I've done a bit of Googling and have found very little in the way of history or origin. I apologise.
I do not however feel sorry for making these beauties. They are delicious! The eye catching "window" on the top biscuit (somewhat reminiscent of a very popular mass produced treat) lends itself well to the holiday season as any small, festive cutter can be used to create it. The jam (or in this case jelly) shines through like a jewel and the crumbly, slightly spiced biscuit pairs with this beautifully.
The dough for this recipe can be made several days ahead and kept in the fridge or freezer. It is easy to make and work with if chilled before attempting to roll. Next time I might dust the top biscuits with icing sugar before sandwiching with the bottom but this is purely an aesthetic thing. I chose to use our homemade damson jelly to sandwich between the layers. Raspberry jam is more traditional but I wanted something smooth and dark. The damson flavour worked well as it was not too sweet.
I used this recipe from Joy of Baking and must say that it worked really well. I made some alterations and will add them in. This is largely the original recipe but I'll reproduce it with the metric measures for ease.
110g ground almonds
280g plain flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
227g butter at room temperature
135g granulated white sugar (divided)
1 tsp vanilla
2 large egg yolks
Zest of 1 lemon
Icing sugar (for dusting)
120g damson jelly (heated with the water until smooth and runny)
1-2 tbsp water
Mix the ground almonds with 50g of the sugar and set aside.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer (you can use a hand mixer) bream the butter and the remaining sugar together until fluffy.
Add the vanilla, egg yolks and lemon zest and beat until combined. Add the ground nut mixture and beat again.
Add the flur mixture and beat until just combined. Divide the dough into two and wrap with cling film. Chill in the fridge until firm.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Take one of the pieces of dough from the fridge and roll on a floured surface until just under 1cm thick (the original recipe says 1cm but I think that's too thick personally).
Using a round, fluted cutter, cut an even number of disks from the dough rerolling as necessary. Using a smaller cutter (I used a star) cut holes in the centre of half the disks.
Transfer the rounds to the baking sheet spaced about an inch apart and bake for 12-14 minutes or until very lightly golden brown.
Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack completely before sandwiching a plain and a holed biscuit with the warm jelly.
Dust with icing sugar (I would consider doing this with the holed side before sandwiching together).