The impact of the pandemic unfortunately means that many couples are unable to spend Valentine’s Day together this year. However, a virtual Valentine’s bake-off may just be the saving grace for times which can only be described in cake terms as stodgy, stale, and severely under-baked.
The Linzer cookie is believed to have originated in Linz, Austria, in the 17th century. Its oldest known recipe dates back to c.1653, and contains the same recipe as needed to make the Linzertorte (an Austrian tart). A popular delicacy in America, Linzer cookies are typically made by Americans at Christmas time, and feature as a prominent element in the US tradition of holiday cookie exchanges.
Linzer cookies are two cookies sandwiched together by a layer of preserve – typically redcurrant in Austria, and raspberry jam in the adapted American version. The top cookie is dusted with icing sugar, effectively making the smaller cut-out more prominent and visible as a result. In Austrian bakeries, the Linzer cookie is often made into a circular shape, and the smaller circle in the middle is filled with redcurrant preserve. The structural appearance alludes to its labelling by Austrian locals as “Linzer Augen”, or “Linzer eyes”.
- 160g plain flour
- 130g almonds
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 128g unsalted butter
- 98g caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large egg yolks
- Zest of one lemon
- Jam (approximately 1/2 a jar)
- 50g powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- Begin by toasting the almonds for 5 minutes until lightly browned, then blitz in a food processor and set aside.
- Using a separate bowl, sift the flour and cinnamon, then stir in the ground almonds.
- In a different bowl, beat the butter until pale in colour, then add the sugar until fluffy.
- Add in the beaten egg yolks, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
- Split the dough in half, wrapping each half in cling film to set aside in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- Once the dough has been in the fridge for 1 hour, roll out the dough to ½cm thickness, dusting your worktop with flour beforehand so the dough is less likely to stick to the surface.
- Use a heart cookie cutter to cut out 20 heart shapes, then use a smaller heart cookie cutter to cut out 10 smaller hearts from the bigger heart shapes.
- Bake the cookies for roughly 10 minutes, or until they began to turn slightly golden in colour.
- Once the cookies have cooled, spread a layer of jam on 10 of the hearts, then place the hearts with the cut outs on top, so the layer of jam shows through.
- Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!