These Linzer heart cookies are made with raspberry preserves sandwiched between delicate cinnamon-scented hazelnut sugar cookies that are similar to shortbread. Perfect to gift or share on Valentine’s day. Or any day.
These Linzer heart cookies, made with dough inflected with hazelnuts and cinnamon and sandwiched with raspberry preserves, are no ordinary cookies. Not in flavor. Not in texture. Not in aroma. And not in the coming together. They’re a little something of a labor of love, which makes them all the more reminiscent of its namesake linzertorte. And not to worry if what results appears to be slightly imperfect. A sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar hides all manner of sins. If your Linzer hearts cookies aren’t quite the perfect shape, your heart most definitely IS in the perfect place. Originally published February 10, 2011.–Sarabeth Levine
Linzer Heart Cookies
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 3 H
- Makes about 36 heart cookies
Special Equipment: You'll need a 2 1/4 -inch heart-shaped cookie cutter (measured across its widest point) to make these little lovelies.
- 3/4 cup raw hazelnuts
- 2 1/2 cups pastry or unbleached cake flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, as your love of cinnamon dictates
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Bake the cookies
- 1. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350ºF (176°C).
- 2. Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until the skins split, about 10 minutes. Working quickly, place the warm hazelnuts, a handful at a time, in a kitchen towel and rub together to remove the skin (some skin may remain on the nuts; this is okay). Repeat. Let cool completely and turn off the oven.
- 3. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the cooled nuts with 1/2 cup of the flour until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the remaining 2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
- 4. Beat the butter and superfine sugar with a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the egg. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture. The dough will be rather soft. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap it loosely and shape it into a 1-inch-thick rectangle. Refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours.
- 5. Adjust your oven racks to the center and top third positions and preheat the oven to 350ºF (176°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- 6. Divide the chilled dough in half. Place 1 portion of dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Return the other half to the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a 1/8–inch-thick rectangle. The dough can be a tad crumbly and delicate when cold. You may want to let it warm just a little. Using a 2 1/4 inch-heart-shaped cookie cutter dipped in flour, quickly cut out the cookies and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets. [Editor’s Note: The dough is rather delicate so you’ll probably find it easiest to move the hearts with a floured offset metal spatula. And if, perchance, the dough rips as you roll it out, simply pat it back into place.] Gather up the scraps of dough and set them aside. Repeat rolling and cutting out the cookies with the other half of the dough from the fridge. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator. Combine the dough scraps into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until lightly chilled, about 10 minutes. Repeat the rolling and cutting with the scraps until all of the dough has been used. Refrigerate until chilled through, at least 30 minutes.
- 7. Bake the cookies straight from the refrigerator, switching the position of the baking pans from top to bottom and front to back, until the edges are lightly browned, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cookies cool completely.
- Assemble the linzer heart cookies
- 8. Arrange the Linzer heart cookies on 1 of the baking sheets with the flat underside facing up. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon raspberry preserves in the center of each cookie. Sandwich each with 1 of the remaining cookies, flat sides facing each other. Cover with parchment and let stand at least 8 hours or overnight to set. (The heart cookies can be stored in an airtight container, with the layers separated by parchment paper, for up to 5 days. They will soften considerably when stored.) Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the cookies.