Tuesday, December 2, 2008

TWD: Linzer Sables

It's the most wonderful time of the year again folks! Welcome to the Christmas season - well, actually according to Catholic tradition, it's only Advent, and Christmas is from Dec. 25th through Jan. 5th, but I digress.... Anyway, Tuesdays with Dorie starts off the season with, what else, cookies! They're beautiful cookies too - or they could be if you remember to make a cutout in the center of the cookie (making a window into the delightful raspberry jam filling). As you can see, I completely forgot to do this, but I still think they're pretty. And feel free to judge this book by it's cover - they're delicious!

The recipe is very easy - don't be intimidated by rolling out the dough. It rolled out like a dream and, since you roll it between two sheets of plastic wrap, clean up is a cinch. I only made one change to this recipe and that's to substitute 1 can of almond paste for the ground almonds and sugar. I thought I had plenty of almonds stored away in the freezer and only at the last minute realized I didn't have any. Thankfully, I had bought a can of the almond paste a couple of months ago intending to make another batch of almond horns (still intending to do that - maybe later this month). This substitution worked great, but I had to rearrange the directions a little to compensate, so I'm reprinting the recipe with my changes.

Linzer Sables
adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1 8 oz. can Almond Paste
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
scant 1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 large egg 2 tsp water
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup raspberry jam

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend almond paste and butter together until smooth, maybe 3 minutes at medium-low speed, scraping down the sides as needed. Reduce speed to low and add in the ground cinnamon, cloves and salt. Add in the egg and water, beat another 2 minutes. Add the flour, mixing only until just combined - don't over mix.

Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, put the dough between two large sheets of plastic wrap. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk, then grab a rolling pin and roll out the dough, turning it over frequently so the paper doesn't cut into it (I did not do this and it wasn't a problem - I used plastic wrap though) until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Leave the dough in the paper and repeat with the second half of the dough. Transfer wrapped dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze until it is very firm, about 2 hours in the fridge or about 45 minutes in the freezer. The rolled-out dough can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just thaw the dough enough to cut out the cookies and go on from there.

Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Peel off the top sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap from one piece of dough and, using a 2-inch round cookie cutter - a scalloped cutter is nice for these - cut out as many cookies as you can. If you want a peekaboo cutout, use the end of a piping tip to cut out a very small circle from the centers of half the cookies. Transfer the rounds to the baking sheets, leaving a little space between the cookies. Repeat with second disk of dough. Set the scarps aside - you can combine them with the scraps from the second disk and roll and cut more cookies (refrigerate the rolled out disk as before).

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time (I didn't - I put them both in the oven and switched them halfway through baking and they came out great) for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden, dry and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.

To make sandwich cookies, spread jam on one side of the cookies and top with another cookie. Dorie's recipe is a little different her in that she melts the jam with some water and boils it slightly, but again, mine came out fine just using the straight jam. One final note, the recipe says it makes 50 cookies (or 25 sandwich cookies) - I didn't even come close to that as I only got about 16, but I don't think I rolled out my dough as thin as a quarter of an inch either.

I definitely recommend this cookie and think it'll look great in your holiday assortment, especially if you use a Christmas themed cookie cutter. I tried using my star-shaped cutter, but the tips kept breaking off so, in order to keep my stress level down and avoid that Mommy's-really-irritated-so-don't-mess-with-her atmosphere in the kitchen, I went with the scalloped edge cutter. (My kids know first hand that expression "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" and have started to recognize the warning signs)

Many thanks to noskos of Living the Life for selecting a cookie that's as beautiful as it is tasty (you can find the original recipe there)! Like I said, I don't know if I'd classify my Linzer Sables as beautiful, but not bad. Dorie's are in the book and I'm sure plenty of other TWD bakers' have gorgeous cookies - so check 'em out!

Coming up next Tuesday: Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies (we'll be breaking out the Christmas sprinkles for sure!)


Cathy said...

Your linzer sables ARE beautiful, Laura, even without the cutouts. Way to substitute that almond paste on the fly -- I had the same issue where I thought that I had more almonds than I actually did. Who is stealing our nuts? Oh, and my kids are well aware of the "if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy" law as well -- although I am still working on helping them pick up the warning signs earlier. Anyway, I think your cookies are perfect for Advent, Christmas, and right on through the epiphany.

chocolatechic said...


I rolled mine between parchment. I didn't have wax paper, and I didn't want to fiddle with plastic wrap.

Engineer Baker said...

Almond paste - what a perfect substitute! They look wonderful, and I agree that you can judge *this* book by its cover :)

kim said...

they are definitely still beautiful without the cutout! very creative to use almond paste.

Flourchild said...

You forgot the cut out and I forgot to make them...HA! I love the looks of your cookies,lovely!

Anonymous said...

You don't need the cutout. Your linzer sables look perfect!

Jamie said...

Those cookies look delicious without the cut out! I bet they tasted wonderful!

The Food Librarian said...

These are so beautiful. They look so perfectly shaped and filled with delicious jam! Yum!

Anonymous said...

gorgeous, even without the cutout! and brilliant substitution with the almond paste.

Danielle said...

They are still pretty even without the peek a boo holes!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

You're right – these will look so cute with an assortment of cookies in a tin. Great (cheap!) gift.