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Linzer Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Although most of the recipes for linzer cookies I checked are basically the same, I will give credit for this version to pastry chef Gale Gand. I made a few changes, mainly in the instructions. These jam-filled sandwich cookies are delicious and perfect for a festive occasion or holiday. I could not find the origin of the cookie, but I do know that linzer torte, as in the similar and related recipes, which uses all of the same ingredients in a cake form, originated in Austria and the cookies evolved from that. Typically, ground almonds for the dough and raspberry jam for the filling are used, but you can use a different nut or jam to suit your tastes.

Ingredients

Cream butter lightly with paddle attachment of standing mixer (or use hand mixer). Add sugar and cream until smooth. Add the egg, lemon rind, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Add nuts and mix again. Stir together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add to mixer and blend. Form into 4 disks; wrap and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Roll out dough, one disk at a time, with floured rolling pin on a well floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2 to 2-1/2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out disks. Cut out the centers of half the disks with a cutter in the shape of your choice, but not too large. (I use a 1-inch round cutter.) Re-roll the scraps or keep chilled until needed. (If the dough gets too soft while working, place in the refrigerator to chill again. It must be very cold to be workable.) Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes or until edges turn lightly golden. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

When the cookies are cool, sprinkle the halves with the cutout center with sifted confectioners' sugar. Heat the jam in a small saucepan and spread the solid disks with a layer of the hot jam. Glue on the lids pressing down lightly. Let set before serving or storing.

Notes: If desired, the holes on the top can be filled with a little more of the jam. Personally, I think it makes it a little too sweet and I like the look of the recessed centers. If you are grinding the nuts in a processor, be certain they are very fine but be careful not to process beyond that or they will turn into almond butter, which you do not want. If storing the cookies, place in an air-tight container, separating the layers with wax paper, and keep at room temperature for up to three days. Cookies can be refrigerated or frozen for a longer period, but the look of the powdered sugar will change as it absorbs moisture.