Linzer Cookies

 

Linzer Cookies by Cakewalker

Mix, Pour & Bake

I wanted one from the moment I saw it on TV. With its gleaming turquoise finish and faux chrome stove top, how could it not catch my eye? Truly it was one of my earliest recollections of sheer elation just at the notion of having one. But when General Mills introduced miniatures of Betty Crocker’s boxed mixes to use with it, I was smitten and my desire became an obsession.

This was likely the first indication of the foodie I would become.

My childhood birthday wish.

The year was 1968 and the object of my affection was the Easy Bake Oven by Kenner. Beyond the fixation was the idea that I could bake a cake when I wanted to, which of course translates into eating cake when I wanted to. How wonderful is that? Cake―anytime, it’s all mine, glorious cake. Yes, a burgeoning foodie indeed!

For at least two Christmases and birthdays I put the Easy Bake Oven at the top of my wish list. Funny though, as I think about this occasion after 40+ years, I remember how excited I became every time I saw the commercial. I would feel a little anxious in anticipation of the pending holiday hoping to receive one wrapped in a colorful package―my mind would wander into a Candy Land-like fog where I would mix, pour and bake. And then all my friends would gather around and we would eat cakes and laugh and eat some more. Sigh.

Ground Almonds and Sugar

Nowadays though, I understand the 60s was a gendered decade much like the 50s, especially in the minds of Madison Avenue. To view a vintage ad for the toy today, the same ones I saw as a boy, it’s blatantly clear young girls and their mothers were targeted. The child depicted in the spot, role played in the image of her mother, the homemaker. Little boys were never cast as the lead in any of the commercials.  And it’s possible my Mom may have subscribed to this line of thinking…she made the gifting decisions in our house.

My Mother and I enjoyed a nice phone conversation recently. We reminisced about times past touching on family and friends, we chatted about one or two of my career paths, and then she asked me how this blog was doing―if I still enjoyed writing it and if I thought it might take me somewhere. I told her that the potential of future opportunity remains to be seen, but that I find great joy in baking and sharing my experiences about food. “Well,” she said, “No matter what you do you always come back to the baking.”

Linzer cookie assembly.

 

Did I ever get that Easy Bake Oven? No, I didn’t. But just because I didn’t score one doesn’t mean I wasn’t a persuasive powerhouse to be reckoned with. Otherwise this picture of me at eight years old with my first cake, baked in a REAL oven wouldn’t have been possible. After all, an adult had to be on hand to supervise use of the kitchen oven, say, someone like the gift decision maker in the house?

 

Brooks with his first cake, September 1969.

Brooks with his first cake, September 1969.

 

Thank you Mom for sharing your oven with me…perhaps you recognized way back then I might have been overqualified for the toy version!

 

Linzer Cookies with homemade raspberry jam

Whether it’s powered by gas, dual fuel or a 100-watt light bulb, an oven has always been near and dear to my cooking adventures… A recent raspberry jam canning project prompted me to start thinking of ways to use the freshly stocked jars in the pantry, and I couldn’t think of a better way to dive into one than with a batch of Linzer Cookies. Typically seen around the holidays, these cookies are just as delicious now and pair perfectly with a refreshing glass of sweet tea on the porch. So forget about the dog days of summer and let’s get baking!

LINZER COOKIES

Yield: About 16 to 20 sandwich cookies depending upon the size of cutters used.

Serving Size: One cookie

LINZER COOKIES

An easy-to-make elegant treat, this Linzer cookie recipe is richly flavorful: slightly crunchy, yet tender, nutty and sweet!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup blanched, lightly toasted almonds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup homemade raspberry jam, recipe here
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar in a strainer for dusting

Instructions

  • Place the blanched almonds that have been lightly toasted in a dry skillet, along with 1/4 cup of the sugar into a food processor. Run the processor until the almonds are coarsely chopped. From there, pulse the mixture until it nearly resembles cornmeal. In a separate bowl, whisk the almond mixture and flour together. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for a minute or two. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and beat the mixture for an additional 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl. Add the vanilla and egg, beating for about a minute until well incorporated. Now add the lemon zest, cinnamon and salt. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. Scrape the bowl again. In two to three batches, add the flour/almond mixture on slow speed, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the bowl one last time, and then mix on low for a few moments. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half, shape into two disks, and wrap them in plastic.
  • Refrigerate the disks for at least one hour. Dough may remain refrigerated for up to three days or freeze. Frozen dough should thaw in the refrigerator overnight until ready to use.
  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  • Roll one disk out at a time on a lightly floured work surface until you have a uniform thickness of about 1/4 inch. From a concentric cookie cutter set, choose the diameter and shape you want to use. Linzer cookies are traditionally cut with a scalloped edge cutter. Cut the cookies placing them an inch apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Re-roll the scraps and cut as you go along. From half the cookies on the sheet/s, cut a smaller shape out from the center of the cookies. You may choose to bake the smaller cut-outs, or re-roll them...a little snack for the baker is always nice and they make great treats to stave off the kids until the cookies are complete!
  • Bake the cookies for 15 to 16 minutes or until the edges just begin to turn a light golden color. Remove from the oven and cool on the sheet/s for a minute or so, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • When the cookies are completely cooled, place about a teaspoon-sized dollop of raspberry jam on the center of the solid cookies (bottoms). Gently spread the jam almost to the edge. Place the cut-out cookies (tops) on a rack positioned over a sheet pan or a piece of parchment paper (to catch excess powdered sugar). Generously dust the cookie tops with powdered sugar. Place the sugar dusted cut-out tops onto the cookie bottoms and gently press to seal them together. Store in an airtight container in a single layer.

Notes

These cookies are sensational as a crunchy version when enjoyed within a couple hours of assembly. Stored cookies, even as they begin to soften from absorbing the moisture in the jam after just a couple hours, are equally as addicting in a deliciously different texture! You may use a good quality store-bought jam as a substitute for a homemade one. Aim for a consistent uniformity in rolling the thickness of the dough...too much of a variance will result in different sized cookies. In that case, match them up as best as you can.

http://cakewalkr.com/linzer-cookies/

Comments

  1. Ah, Brooks, we are of the same generation and how I remember those tv commercials (Easy Bake Oven and Incredible Edibles…anything that allowed me to create something to eat) and how I craved that oven. I never got it. Most likely for different reasons but by the time I was in junior high, my sister, brother and I were baking in the big oven (not such a lovely cake as yours!!). But I went through so many years sad because I couldn’t have that Easy Bake. What memories…and what a story. I love how you tell it. And I love making Linzer cookies. Yours are beautiful!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      Jamie, I love how our fortitude persevered over an unfulfilled desire. I’m also delighted you stopped by―thank you for the kind remarks.

      Here’s a fun follow-up: Last year, a woman in New Jersey petitioned Hasbro (the current maker of the toy) to feature boys in the packaging of the Easy Bake Oven. She won! Details of the victory can be read here http://chn.ge/SwRvtB.

  2. Brooks,
    I love this post. I was fortunate to have a neighbor friend with an Easy Bake Oven – I thought it was the coolest thing ever! My mom, like yours, gladly shared her oven with me and just like you, I put it to good use with, with great enjoyment. These cookies could not be more beautiful or yummy looking – great job!!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      Thank you, sir. The closest I got to the toy oven was my neighborhood friend’s too. Hers didn’t work though, so we used mud in the little round pans, sliding them into the cold oven for a short duration pretending they’d rise to cake-like perfection. Oh to be a kid!

  3. You’re my second blogging friend who posted Linzer Cookies. I think it’s a sign from the universe that I need to make these. Lovely as always, Brooks, and I love that your raspberry jam project carried forward into yet another act of love. Perfect.

    PS – I still have my Easy Bake Oven in the attic. If it hasn’t melted in our Houston heat, you’re always invited to visit for a bake-off. I’ll even spring for the Jiffy mixes.

  4. Brooks Walker says:

    A bake-off is a splendid idea, Jeanne. I’ll bring the light bulb! It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

  5. Ha! Kindred spirits! I didn’t want a Barbie like all of my other friends, I just wanted that easy-bake oven! I loved the concept of a little mini cake!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      Sheryl, I’m not surprised in the slightest we shared a desire for that oven. Bake on my friend.

  6. Oh my goodness, how cute were you and your cake?! I love that. It’s a shame you never got your Easy Bake, but it seems like you got something better–use of the REAL oven, and a food blog besides! I love linzer cookies, thanks for the nudge to make them again.

    • Brooks Walker says:

      You’re welcome, Elizabeth. I’m grateful for your kindness and it’s good to have you here.

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