Happy Valentine's Day!
For me Valentine's day usually means a very busy restaurant and lots of baking. I probably made more cookies this week, than I did for Christmas (and I made a lot of cookies for Christmas!). I've made heart-shaped cupcakes, chocolate cakes, strawberry cakes, chocolate mousse, sugar cookies, Tiramisu, strawberry tarts and raspberry linzer cookies. Tomorrow I will bake tres leches cake and make sure we have plenty of creme brulee. I made these early in the week since they are a little time consuming, but well worth the effort.
I found the easiest way to decorate these is to melt the raspberry jam and spread a thin layer on the base. Work with one cookie at a time, while the jam is still hot and press the top cookie onto the base. (to glue it together). After all the cookies have been put together, sprinkle with powdered sugar- I use snow sugar since it doesn't melt. Snow sugar can be found at baking suply store or online at King Arthur Flour, they have a great selection of wonderful flours and baking essentials. After the cookies have been sprinkled with sugar, fill the hole with more melted jam. The first time I made these, I did had not yet figured these steps out and I ended up with sticky oozing cookies which were yummy, but were a total mess because I put too much jam between them.
Raspberry Linzer Heart Cookies
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (2- 1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-1/2 cups ground almonds
2 cups flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar or Snow sugar
Preheat oven to 350F
1. In a large mixer bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and conitnue to beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and almond extract and mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, combine almonds, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Sowly add flour mixture to butter mixture and combine on low speed until incorpoarted and a dough forms.
3. Gather dough, (if dough is a little wet, pull it together with floured hands) then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. On a generously floured surface, roll half of dough out to 1/8" thickness (cookies will be thin since 2 are put together). Cut out an even number of hearts, ( I get 24 tops and 24 bottoms). Place the bottoms on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
5. For the tops: place whole hearts on cookie sheet, then cut a small heart out of each. (cutting the small heart after the tops are on the cookie sheet helps them keep their shape- since the dough is a little soft, it's easier to transfer a whole heart than a heart "ring"). Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cookies just be just a little golden, the tops will cook faster than the bottoms so watch them carefully.
6. After cookies have cooled, heat the raspberry jam for about 35 seconds in the microwave. Spread a little jam on the bottoms, then gently press tops on. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, then fill the hole with additional jam. Allow the cookies to set for a little while before serving.