Raspberry and Cranberry Linzer Cookies
fresh or frozen raspberries (3.5oz / about 3/4 cup)
fresh or frozen cranberries (1.7oz / about 1/2 cup)
sugar (5.3oz / about 3/4 cup)
Zest of 1/2 orange
almonds (2.1oz / about 3/4 cup)
hazelnuts (1.8oz / about 61/2 T)
all-purpose flour (9.9oz / about 2 cups)
Diamond Crystal kosher salt (1 tsp)
confectioners’ sugar (3.2oz / about 3/4 cup), plus extra for dusting
unsalted butter (8oz), room temperature
vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
Raspberry and Cranberry Linzer Cookies
I like the filling of these cookies to be shiny and gemlike, so I strain the preserves. But the truth is, the preserves are so good unstrained that I sometimes make a big batch and keep half as is to eat on toast. This dough also makes delicious chocolate ganache–filled cookies and unfilled almond and hazelnut cookies—see the Variations below.
- To make the filling, combine the raspberries, cranberries, sugar, and zest in a bowl. Mix to distribute the sugar and set the berries aside to macerate at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring it to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat so the mixture just simmers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the preserves reach a temperature of 220°F on a candy thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes. Press the preserves through a fine sieve into a bowl, discard the seeds, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the jelly thoroughly, at least 1 hour.
- To start the cookies, preheat the oven to 325°F and roast the almonds and hazelnuts in an ovenproof skillet until they smell toasty, about 12 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven and set them aside to cool.
- In a food processor, combine the nuts and the flour and process until the mixture is finely ground. Add the salt and cinnamon and pulse to mix. In the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream the confectioners’ sugar with the butter on medium-high speed. Add the vanilla, turn the mixer to low, and add the flour mixture. Mix until the dough is homogeneous, scraping the bowl as necessary. Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and chill it until it is firm, about 30 minutes.
- To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment—this dough is a little sticky and you want it nice and thin for sandwich cookies—about 1/8 inch thick. Be sure to loosen the dough from the paper from time to time, adding a little more flour if necessary. Cut out cookies: hearts, rounds, or squares. I like to use a cutter that is 2 inches across. Arrange the cookies in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Dock the dough with a fork and chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Using a 3/4-inch cutter, punch out the centers of half the cookies; these will be the tops. (I bake the cute little cookie “holes,” cool them, then serve them dusted with confectioners’ sugar).
- Bake all the cookies for 6 minutes, then rotate the pan front to back and continue baking until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned, about 6 minutes more. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet, then dust the top halves—the cookies with the holes—with confectioners’ sugar.
- Heat the jelly in a small pan over low heat (or warm it in the microwave) just until it “loosens” (this makes the jelly extra shiny when it sets). Spoon a little jelly onto each base—the uncut, un-sugared cookies. Let the jelly set for about 5 minutes, then, using an offset spatula, gently top with the other cookies, sugared-sides up. Let the jelly set completely before serving.
- Variation 1: To make Chocolate-Filled Hazelnut Almond Cookies, roll, cut, and bake the dough as described above. While the cookies cool, make a ganache: Chop 57 grams (2 ounces) chocolate and put it in a bowl. Bring 1/2 cup heavy cream to a simmer over medium-high heat, pour the cream over the chocolate, and let it sit for 1 minute, then whisk until the mixture is smooth and emulsified. Allow the ganache to cool enough so it thickens and is the consistency of frosting. Pipe (or spoon) quarter-size dollops of ganache onto half the cookies (these will be the bottoms). Carefully lift the cut cookies onto the chocolate (I use an offset spatula). Set the cookies aside to allow the chocolate to set. Serve at room temperature.
- Variation 2: To make Hazelnut Almond Cookies, prepare the dough as above but roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness for these unfilled cookies. Cut the cookies into the desired shapes. Chill and bake them as described above. Cool then serve dusted with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.