Phew. I am officially done school for the semester. To celebrate, yesterday I baked Christmas Cookies and watched Elf which is one of my favourite Christmas movies (and I have a lot of them).
Last year for Christmas I received a set of Linzer Cookie cutters as a gift and decided yesterday to finally try them out. And because I’m still in study-mode, here’s a cookie history lesson! Linzer Cookies (or Linzer Eyes and related to Linzertortes) are an export of Austria, believed to have been first baked way back in the 1700s in the City of Linz (hence the name!). They are a sandwich cookie with the top cookie that is cutout with a small shape so that the pretty jam filling can be seen and dusted with a layer of confectioner’s sugar. I thought that this pretty cookie would be the perfect cookie to jump-start my holiday cookie baking venture for the next few weeks so here they are, Linzer Cookies!
I simply veganized a recipe of Martha Stewart’s and they turned out wonderfully. Using my cutters, they made way more than her estimated count of 16. I can’t remember my final quantity, I forgot to count and they disappeared rather quickly. I’m going to say about 30ish? Or more?
1 cup of unblanced hazelnuts
1 cup (2 sticks) of Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Jam for spreading the sandwiches with (I used strawberry but traditionally raspberry or black currant preserves are used)
To toast the hazelnuts
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, watching them so they don’t burn.
3. Remove hazelnuts from oven and place them in a clean kitchen towel and rub them vigorously to remove the skins as much as possible. Set aside the nuts to allow them to cool.
4. Process the hazelnuts in a food processor until they are finely ground and set aside until they are completely cool.
To make the cookie dough
1. In a large bowl, cream the earth balance and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the soy yogurt and beat until smooth. Stir in Vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ground hazelnuts, flour, baking soda and spices. Add this to the earth balance and sugar mixture and beat until combined.
3. Divide dough into two discs and chill in refridgerator for at least an hour.
To bake the cookies
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface and cut out an even number of tops and bottoms.
3. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, until the edges are ever so slightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool on wire racks.
To assemble the cookies
1. Sift a layer of confectioner’s sugar on to the cookie tops (the ones with the cutout).
2. Spread the cookie bottoms with a thin layer of jam.
3. Make the top cookie and the bottom cookie kiss and there! You have a linzer cookie!
Enjoy them with your favourite holiday movie.