Although another dessert post is on the horizon, including an amazing surprise recipe from a friend of mine, I thought I would post up this first attempt at Linzer Cookies. Traditionally I know that some people use eggs or egg yolks in their cookie recipe, as it gives it a cake-like texture. But the Linzer Cookies I know are actually just shortbread with a little vanilla and/or spice, a hole in the top and jam in the middle. I decided to go for the latter, so that if something went horribly wrong with my construction I could just dust them up and use them as regular shortbreads. I had help making these from my friend Andrew, who faithfully punctured all the holes in the centres of the tops with an apple corer (a brilliant idea on his part for want of a Linzer cookie cutter set).
I will say that the biscuits by themselves are a little dry (being shortbreads), so if you absolutely dislike dry biscuits I would recommend either trying a little less flour when rolling them out, or not using rice flour when rolling them out, or even trying more nuttelex. As mine were sandwiched with very wet jam, they came out not too dry, so it wasn’t too much of a problem for me. But then again, I like shortbread, which are traditionally dry and crumbly and delicious! I also was reminded the hard way that there is a reason for not overworking the dough, as it soon becomes stiff and crumbly and difficult to roll. Some people say the trick to fixing it is just to work in more butter, or nuttelex in this case, or to cover it and chill it again. But I was still able to get about ten decent sized Linzer Cookies when I re-rolled the scraps only once, meaning that I had twenty individual cookies which I then sandwiched together. Besides, the cookies held their shape perfectly while cooking and were pretty fun and simple to put together. It was also a good opportunity to try out the cookie cutters my boyfriend gave me for my birthday (a set of 101 cookie cutters!). I really liked my Linzers to have a crimped sort of pattern, and I went for circles as I was using an apple corer to cut circles in the centre. But if you have smaller heart-shaped cookie cutters, etc, feel free to experiment with different shapes.
My kitchen disaster has proven conclusively that there is something very wrong with the temperature gauge of my oven. I attempted to also cook a flour-less cake (recipe to come), but the outside burned and the inside was soup. Doing all the usual tricks, like lowering the temperature and cooking for longer, etc, did absolutely nothing (and has never helped in the past either). All it did was crisp more on the outside and refuse to cook on the inside. I had Andrew trying to save the cake, and even my boyfriend – who out of the three of us had much more kitchen experience, couldn’t figure out what on earth was going wrong. I have thus far only ever cooked one cake well in that oven, and since then not even loaves will cook like they should. Although we are aware that the temperature dial isn’t sitting right and have attempted to compensate for that, still we are having no success with cakes. Meat and vegetables will roast and cook perfectly, but the moment a cake goes in, oh dear, oh dear! Still, we had fun despite the struggle, and I got to do a test run of the flour-less cake recipe. I also got to use the standmixer that Andrew’s girlfriend has generously leant to me, and I was in raptures! It works so much better than my hand-held mixer, and of course being more powerful and more thorough it really did a much better job at creaming the butter and sugar for the Linzers than I could have, as well as fluffing up the eggs and sugar for the cake. So all in all, despite that disaster I still had a great time with my friend and my boyfriend, and I will definitely get back on the horse and try again to figure out what is going on with that oven. Although the opinion at the moment is that it’s possessed!
Makes: about 10 cookies, Prep: 35-40 mins, Chill: 1hr, Cook: 12 mins, per batch, Assembly: 10 mins
- 1 cup nuttelex (or another butter substitute)
- 1.5 cups g/f plain flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup rice flour, sifted
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch sea salt flakes
- 6 tsp cherry jam (or jam of choice)
- Cream the butter and sugar, and then add in the vanilla and combine.
- Sift in the flours, add the salt, and knead together with your hands. The mixture should be coarse and crumbly and then come together to form a dough.
- Divide this dough into two balls, covering both with cling-wrap, and refrigerating them for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 160C (fan-forced), and line baking trays with baking paper.
- Covering a clean and dry surface with g/f plain flour, roll out one ball of the dough, leaving the other in the fridge. Roll the dough out to be quite thin, so only about a few millimeters tall, making sure to roll gently and evenly,
- Using your cookie cutter and apple corer, or an actual Linzer cookie cutter set, cut out at least ten cookies from your dough, using the apple corer to create the holes in the batch of top-cookies. Re-work the scraps only once, if you need to. But make sure to take note of how many tops you are making, as you will need to cut out the same for the bases.
- Reserve the cut out centres, as these can be cooked too.
- Bake this set for 10-12 mins, meanwhile, prepare the bases. Roll out the second lot of dough and cut out, placing them on a tray. Once the first batch has browned gently on the edges, remove and put in the bases for 10-12 minutes.
- Allow the tops to cool on the tray before moving with a metal egg lifter to a cooling rack to cool. Repeat this with the bases.
- Cook the small buttons, if you like, for about 5-7 minutes or until browned.
- Once the top and bottom cookies have cooled, spread a layer of jam over the base, and this layer doesn’t have to be thick. Smother the top cookies with icing sugar and then pop them onto the bases, being careful not to smudge the icing, and press down gently to create the sandwich.
- Fill the hole in the top cookie with extra jam, and serve.
(Based on a serving size of ten overall cookies)
Approx. 331 calories and 28.6g of carbs per cookie