Monday, November 25, 2013

Fine Cooking's Linzer Cookies... a Food Photography Challenge

Little Window Cookies... that's what we've called Linzer cookies since Liv dubbed them such some 10 years ago.  Thin, tender and sightly sweet, these hazelnut/almond shortbread treats bring a festive flair to any holiday table, and with this month's Inspired Plate Theme being Festive Food Fare, our choice didn't take much thought.

Evolving from the Austrian Linzer Torte, a lattice designed pastry traditionally filled with black currant jam, the Linzer Cookie's most popular filling tends to be raspberry, but any flavor will do.  I'll admit to raspberry being my personal favorite, but we've used strawberry and blueberry jam with equal success and Thanksgiving brings the perfect occasion to use some of that jewel-colored cranberry sauce you may have hanging around.

The cookies alone are quite crisp (I love that!), but will soften up after being filled with the jam.  Hence, if your preference is a crispier cookie you may want to fill the cookies the day of serving.  While I love a good crisp cookie, I can't get enough of these "little windows" a day or two after filling when the flavors have melded and the cookie has softened to a nice tender bite.

Now won't you join me all the way on the other side of the world as we join Inspired Plate Member, the newly graduated, Dr. Sabrina Wong, a food photographer from Perth Australia.  I'm eager to see her festive food and I'm totally envious of her holidays in summer!

Linzer Cookies from Fine Cooking

  • 2 1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) sliced almonds
  • 2 1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • 9 1/2 oz. (2 cups plus 1 Tbs.) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest (I used tangerine as we were out of lemons)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) chilled unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbs. cold water
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves (or your favorite flavor!)
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Measure the almonds and hazelnuts into the bowl of a food processor and add 1/2 cup of flour.  Pulse until the mixture is finely textured, but not powdered.  (to avoid over processing, stop the processor and feel the nuts making sure they are still a bit chunky.)  Add the rest of the flour along with the rest of the ingredients through the cloves.  Pulse to combine.

Chop the chilled butter into little cubes and add to the bowl of the food processor.  Pulse again until the mixture looks like coarse meal, being careful not to over process.  Dump into a large bowl.

In a small bowl whisk the egg and water together.  Pour into the bowl with the flour mixture, and toss gently to combine.  The dough will come together when pinched.  If it seems a little dry add a sprinkle of water.  Knead briefly, just enough to get the dough to come together.  Split the dough into two portions, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill until firm, 2-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Cover your cookie sheets with parchment. Generously flour a work surface. Roll one ball of the dough 3/16 inch thick. (Keep the rest in the refrigerator, and if the dough warms up to the point of being sticky while you’re working with it, return it to the refrigerator.)**  Cut out as many 2-1/2-inch shapes as possible, rerolling the scraps to make more shapes.  Arrange on the cookie sheets about 3/4 inch apart, and cut shapes in the center of half the rounds. Reroll the cut out scraps to make more cookies.
Place in the oven and bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough.
To assemble, spread a heaping 1/2 tsp. preserves on the underside of the whole cookie rounds. Top with the doughnut-shaped cookies, bottom sides against the preserves. Just before serving, sift confectioners' sugar lightly over the cookies.

**Liv Life Note:  Actually found the dough to be a little easier to work with when it was softer... work with whichever works best for you.


  1. Those cookies look awesome and so does your photography! Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

    1. Thanks Happy Valley!!! I love then a shot comes together!

  2. Beautiful Kim! Love all the different shapes and the light dusting of sugar. They look yummy

  3. Yup, I've always found these cookies to be magical. When I was a kid I couldn't figure out how 'they' got the food in the window like that. :)


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