Monday, February 13, 2012

Sweet Heart Bites

Valentine's Day calls for a sweet treat and this year I thought I'd do something a little bit fancy. I looked at dozens of recipes over the weekend and finally decided that these cutout cookies were too pretty not to make. Little did I know, however, that I was digging deep into Milwaukee's roots when I chose them!

This recipe is adapted from one found on the Taste of Home website. I got multiple questions today about what a "linzer" cookie is, to which I replied, "I have no idea. It's just what the recipe was called." That seemed to satisfy everyone else's curiosity, but not mine. Of course I had to google (or more accurately, bing) it tonight to get a real answer. Naturally, I came across a credible answer from Wikipedia.

I suspected these cookies bore some relation to Linzer Torte, an Austrian specialty named for the city of Linz. It typically has a crumbly pastry crust with a layer of fruit preserves and a lattice top. Similarly, these cookies have a butter-y, nutty crumb texture with sweet jam in the middle. (As a side note, I used Smucker's Simply Fruit, which is absolute perfection. It tastes like fruit instead of sugar! Oh, and the seedless variety is an absolute must. The cutouts will bear a resemblance to stained glass absent the icky seeds.)

Where does Milwaukee come in, you ask? As I continued my research, I discovered that this dessert became popular in the U.S. in the 1850s when an Austrian traveler brought the Linzer Torte to Milwaukee. That's right, people. I made a local specialty without even knowing it! How's that for a little Midwestern love?

Raspberry Jam-Filled Linzer Heart Cookies
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups almond flour
Seedless raspberry jam
Confectioners' sugar (which would have made them even prettier, but I forgot I was out after making this delicious fudge frosting a few weeks ago)

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in almond flour. Refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. From the center of half the cookies, cut out 1-1/2-inch hearts.

Place cut cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Bake10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Spread 1/2 teaspoon jam over bottom of solid cookies. (Here's where you'd sprinkle cutout cookies with confectioners' sugar, if you had it.) Carefully place cutouts over jam.

Oh, and don't forget the best part of making these cute little cutouts ... you'll end up with 36 adorable, scrumptious little hearts to bake! And popping a handful of those will make you feel so much less guilty than eating a few cookies ...

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow, I need to catch up on this goodness!

    Those look almost too good to eat. But just almost.. I'd definitely get over desecrating such a work of art and eat about twenty ;)