February is the ideal time to bake cookies—especially heart-shaped Linzer cookies. Believed to have originated in the Austrian city of Linz in the early 1700s, Linzer cookies are typically baked around Christmas. However, with some heart-shaped cookie cutters and a little love, these seasonal cookies are perfect for Valentine’s Day. Start with this simple yet traditional recipe from American Heritage Cooking.
2/3 cup almonds
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, for dusting
1 12-ounce jar seedless raspberry preserves
If you’re not a fan of raspberries, try making these cookies with anything from apricot preserves and fig jam to grape jelly.
If you don’t have a food processor or are short on time, buy almond flour instead of using whole almonds—just bear in mind that you will need to use less.
Add a small amount of lemon zest to your cookie dough to help highlight the tartness of the raspberries and the sweetness of the sugar and almonds.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 6 – 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl, then set aside.
Dump the cooled toasted almonds in a food processor along with 1/4 cup of the sugar and pulse until finely ground. Don’t over-process, or the almonds could start to release their oil and you’ll end up with almond butter rather than flour.
In a stand mixer (or a large bowl and a hand mixer), beat together the butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy, which will take 2 or 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Add the ground almonds with the mixer on a low speed, then introduce the flour mixture in several additions. Mix until just combined; be careful not to over-mix, as this can result in hard, tough cookies.
Divide the dough in half, then shape into disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, until firm but not hard.
Preheat the oven once again to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Lightly flour a clean surface and roll out each disk of dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and place them on the baking sheets with at least 1 inch between each cookie. With half of the cookies, cut out smaller heart-shaped holes from the centers, rerolling the scraps and using them to make more cookies until you run out of dough.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 – 10 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the edges start to brown. Slide cookies onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.
Dust the top cookies (the ones with the holes in the middle) with powdered sugar. Spread about 3/4 teaspoon of raspberry preserves on each bottom cookie. Place the powdered top cookies onto the bottom cookies and press them gently to help them stick together. Enjoy!
Heart-shaped Linzer cookies are the ideal gift to bake for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. If you and your sweetheart enjoy baking together, this recipe is easy enough that you can make it into a fun romantic activity, or even enlist the help of the kids.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.