The Devil is in the details

29 Mar

Linzer Tarts are one of those things that my family just loves. They are sweet and beautiful and delicious to boot. There’s something about a sugar covered, jam filled, cookie that begs to be eaten.

Every holiday someone in the family makes these cookies, and if no one makes them we buy them from the Wyckoff Quality Bakery in Wyckoff, NJ.

If you look up linzer cookies or linzer tarts in a cookbook you’ll find two theories. The first is the classic linzer dough which is a shortbread type dough that uses filbert flour and ground walnuts. It’s a heavy dough that needs to be worked while cold or it will fall apart. This dough can be formed into tart pans and baked like a pie or rolled and cut into the cookie shape.

The second theory is a basic shortbread dough. This dough is a four ingredient dough. It’s versatile enough to double as a pie crust and cookie. My family favors the shortbread style. Here’s the recipe:

Linzer Tarts

3/4 pound butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup good quality raspberry preserves (admittedly I like to use wild blueberry preserves, so use whatever flavor you like best)
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the salt and flour, then add them to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 20 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/4 inch thick and cut an even amount of shapes out of the dough. In half of the shapes cut a small piece out of the center. Place all the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread the preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the tops of the cut-out cookies with confectioners’ sugar and press the sides together, with the preserves in the center and the powdered sugar on top.

Take your time with these babies. They are a labor of love, but worth every minute.

Always thinking about the next meal,


One Response to “The Devil is in the details”

  1. Rachel April 5, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    I used to make these at the bakery I worked at in Philly for years. Always one of my most favorite things to make and eat! 🙂 Thanks for the recipe so I can make them now!

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