Monday, February 14, 2011

Pecan Linzer Heart Cookies with Black Cherry Filling

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  This year I finally got around to making Valentine's Day cards, except I mailed them really late. But that's ok, right? That makes them extra-special, because when Valentine's Day is over, and you think you're done getting trinkets of love in the mail, BAM - there's my Valentine (late...). Well, here you go. You can at least look at them on Valentine's Day... :)

I've always wanted to make Linzer cookies, but never tried. They looked so complicated and time consuming with their double layers and filling (this coming from a girl who will spend hours decorating cookies...). "And in short, I was afraid." (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is the best poem, ever. Just don't read it on Valentine's Day...)

But fear not! These cookies are hardly time consuming, especially if you have Linzer cookie cutters, and you can fill them with whatever kind of tasty jam you like.

These cookies are perfect for Valentine's Day because they look like little doilies with hearts in the middle. I even baked the heart cut outs and made little heart cookie sandwiches...

And you feel healthy, because... uh... there's fruit in the jam... never mind the excessive powdered sugar mustache you now have... um... it's Valentine's Day, so it's alright...

Pass the box of chocolates, please! ...and another cookie.

Pecan Linzer Cookies
Martha Stewart

yields 32 cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup red jam (I used black cherry, but any kind of red/purple fruit will do.)

Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. Pulse pecans, confectioners' sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until finely ground (but not wet). Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Add butter and granulated sugar; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and egg. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Halve dough and shape into disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours (I suggest overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 F. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Cut out squares with a 2-inch fluted cutter. Cut out centers of half the squares with a 1/2-inch heart cutter; reroll scraps. Space 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake squares and hearts until pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.

Meanwhile, heat jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced and thickened, about 7 minutes. Strain and let cool.

Sprinkle cutout cookies with confectioners' sugar. Spread jam onto uncut squares and top with cutout ones. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days. Enjoy.
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