Thursday, February 14, 2013

Linzer Love

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

For the past few days I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what to make for this lovey-doveyest of days. Caufield and I didn't have time to do anything extravagant for Valentine's Day -- we're kind of bad at observing holidays while they're happening (our running joke is that we'll celebrate whatever holiday is coming up at the next one, and this has, with the exception of Christmas in Austin, been going on since his birthday in September...oops). Nevertheless, I still wanted to do something special, so I considered the requisite characteristics of the holiday:

*things are generally pink or red
*and/or flowery

We recently discovered the Lindt store on Newbury Street, and since I am still reeling from the subsequent truffle overload, chocolate was out. That left me with red, heart-shaped, and flowery. That's when I noticed a pint of raspberries in the fridge and SHAZAM!!! Raspberry Linzers!!!! Classic.

But how to make them more festive?

WHABAM!!!! ROSE WATER!!!!!!!!!111!! As you can see, my thought process is violent and full of comic book onomatopoeia.

I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart, omitting the spices and hazelnuts and adding almond meal instead. I also switched out the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in favor of a cup of powdered sugar, which I think makes for a better-yielding cookie dough.

These were a smashing success! The pairing of raspberries and rose is sublime -- the fragrant floral flavor of the rose water wonderfully complements the tangy raspberries, accentuating their own inherent sweetness. And sandwiched between the buttery almond-flecked cookies, you've pretty much got the physical manifestation of love right there.

(Oh, and by the way, Caufield got me a dark chocolate bar with BBQ potato chips in it. So he's a keeper...even if I am still reeling from Lindt truffle overload...)

Linzer Cookies
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup almond meal
2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat for another minute. Add vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the eggy sugary buttery goodness about a half a cup at a time, all the while mixing at a low speed. Once everything's combined, divide the cookie dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour. 

While that's going, make the jam!

Raspberry Rose Jam
12 oz fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tsp rose water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
juice of half a lemon

In a food processor, purée the raspberries until smooth. If you prefer seedless jam, strain the purée into a bowl (I don't mind the seeds -- gives the jam a rather rough-and-tumble quality which I find favorable, so I omitted this step). Pour the purée into a medium-sized saucepan along with the sugar and rose water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. After about ten minutes, add the lemon juice, still stirring. The mixture should reach ideal viscosity after thirty minutes. A good indication is if you spoon a little onto a plate. If it congeals and isn't running all over the place, you've got yourself some jam! Remove from heat, pour carefully into a prepared jar, and refrigerate for the time being.

Back to the cookies...

Prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Roll out one half of the cookie dough to about 1/4" thickness. Cut out an even number of hearts with a cookie cutter, and then cut smaller hearts out of half of those. I used a 2" heart for the cookies and a 1 1/2" heart for the cut-outs.

Arrange your hearts, whole and cut-out, on your prepared cookie sheets, and bake for 8 minutes, rotating halfway. Transfer to a wire rack and dust the cut-out hearts with powdered sugar. Spoon the raspberry rose jam onto the underside of the whole hearts and make a sandwich with the cut-out hearts.

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