Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Full of fun and adventure? Sounds awesome! Oh, me? Thanks for asking. I spent pretty much my entire weekend making linzer tarts. #NoRegrets.
I'm not sure how this all started but I think I saw someone making them on Instagram and thought "Wow, that seems easy. I should try it," which is how most things in my kitchen start. From there it became testing a couple different recipes to find the one I like most..but first.
My husband looks at me and asks me why half the cookies are missing the center. With all due to him, there's powdered sugar on half the cookies and jam on the other half, surely he should be able to figure this one out, yes? So I respond, "they're linzer tarts.' To which he says... AND I QUOTE..."What's a linzer tart?" This is grounds for divorce, yes? (JK; he is my better half in every way, besides dessert.) So my husband has never had a linzer tart. To add insult to injury he continues with, "that doesn't seem like a Jewish thing."
I take this one personally, like a punch to the gut. Linzer tarts seem V jewy to me in literally every way. Shortbread cookie with jam...the HAMANTASH comes to mind. As it turns out while they aren't exactly Jewish they are very Eastern European and we, the Jewish people, have very much adopted them. FIND ME a Jewish bakery that doesn't sell linzer tarts and I'll bake you a fresh batch myself!!
All right, back to the recipe testing. So I tried a few different versions of the linzer tarts but ultimately came back to this very bare bones one. The others, while more romantic and delicate, were just...too delicate. I like a cookie with weight, a cookie you can bite into and it won't crumble and ultimately this was the winner. My husband the linzer tart virgin cosigns, for whatever that is worth. I hope you enjoy! Oh, and if you're looking for linzer cookie cutters I'm liking these!
Makes about 12 cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup (approximately) jam
1. Cut the cold butter into cubes. Beat the butter on a medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, whack the cold butter with a rolling pin to soften it.
2. When the butter has softened, add the sugar and mix until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix.
3. In a medium bowl combine the cinnamon, salt, flour and baking soda. Lower the speed on the mixer and slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Once the mixture comes together transfer the batter to the refrigerator and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4. When you're ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F.
5. Work with the dough in batches. On a well floured surface roll out about 1/3 of the dough to about 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch thick. (The thickness depends on how you like your cookies; I prefer a thicker cookie.)
6. Use a linzer cookie cutter to cut even circles. In half of the circles, use a smaller cookie cutter to remove the center. Transfer these to the refrigerator as you continue to work. Gather all the scraps and add them back to the cookie dough batter. Repeat with the remaining dough.
7. When you've used and chilled all the dough, bake for 12-15 minutes, until the sides of the cookies begin to brown. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet.
8. Take all the top pieces (the pieces with the centers removed) and place them on one baking sheet. Generously pour powdered sugar over the tops.
9. Take the bottom pieces (the pieces fully intact) and turn them over so the flat side is up. Spoon or pipe a little bit of jam onto the cookie and spread it around a bit. Cover each of the bottom pieces with a top piece and fill in any empty spaces with jam.