Well, here we are, on the other side of it all…
Just like that, Santie laid his finger aside of his nose, gave a nod, and up the chimney he rose. Christmas came and went, presents, stockings, feasts, and family. The final indulgent days of 2015, year-end quotas met or not, the ball dropped in Times Square, bottles were popped, hello 2016, nice to meet you. Back to work we all went, Monday, the first Monday of January, the Monday of months, topped off with a bitter unexpected chill in New York (I’m swaddled in layers as I write, waiting for my old, stubborn, and inconsistent heater to kick on).
Call me fragile, sappy, or possibly just some Kringle in my bloodline, but the end of the big holiday season makes me so sad, and not just Christmas, all of it. From Halloween to New Year’s, each year such lovely times are had throughout and more memories are made. Something to truly be thankful for; I just wish I could slow them down, see them in physical form as they’re being made, touch them, let them be tangible so I can hold and experience them all over again, particularly on drab and chillingly cold Tuesday afternoons such as right now…
…Such an innocent and meek wish to have, but I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow it.
While January’s arrival always gives me a very sour taste in my mouth, I can appreciate the resolutions and resets that come with it. I too am brimming with resolutions and refreshing all the health and wellness-y things I do that often get rather gunked up between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (more of that in another post).
I also appreciate January’s calmness and quiet diligence. More nights and weekends are spent at home, new hobbies are adopted, small (or large) household projects are tackled, and for me long and lengthy recipes are tried. I already have a growing list of recipes and food projects to test to keep me sane and busy throughout the next few months of post-holiday wintertime.
But until I start cooking and baking my way through my (mostly health-conscious) list, I’m going to put my Linzer cookie cutters to use one last time before I pack them away. A little tangy and nutty sweetness to curb my Christmas withdrawal, a final reminder of the sweetness of the season that has passed, but luckily will come again. I suggest you do the same.
Note: This recipe is lovely, but rather lengthy. Ideal for one of those calm January afternoons where you can stow away your clock, schedule, and iPhone and just find peace in your time and action in the kitchen.
This recipe is adapted from Cookie Swap by Lauren Chattman. It was graciously gifted to me by my dear friend Gail a few holiday seasons ago. It states that it yields 36 small cookies, I got 45 out of it!
Mini Hazelnut Linzer Cookies
-1 C. skinned and toasted hazelnuts
-2/3 C. granulated sugar
-1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 large egg yolk
-1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
-2 2/3 C. unbleached AP flour, plus extra for working the dough
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/4 C. seedless raspberry jam
-Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
-Place the hazelnuts and 1/3 C. of the sugar in a food processor and pulse 8 to 10 times until very finely ground, the mixture should resemble very coarse sand. (I pulsed 15-20 times)
-Place the butter and remaining 1/3 C. of the sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the flour, salt, and the hazelnut mixture and mix on low speed until the dough comes together in a ball. (My dough was very crumbly and didn’t form a ball, added a few splashes of water to it in order to make it less crumbly)
-Divide the dough into three parts and, on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands, press it into three 1/2 inch thick disks. (Worked some more water into the dough here as well) Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Can also wrap in plastic and foil and pop in the freezer, for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours or overnight before using.
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
-Remove one of the dough disks from the refrigerator and knead it 4 or 5 times on a lightly floured work surface to soften it. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thickness of a scant 1/4 inch. Use a 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter to cut out as many as you can. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and use a smaller cutter to cut a peek-a-boo center into half of the cookies. Alternatively, use a skewer to poke holes in half of the cookies. (I got about 30 cookies from one disk of dough, 15 cookies in total after they’re sandwiched)
-Bake until they are lightly golden, 10 to 12 minutes (I did 8 to 9 minutes, my oven is quite warm, really need to purchase an oven thermometer…). Let cool completely on wire racks.
-Roll, cut, and bake the remaining 2 disks of dough (and any scraps), using fresh parchment, as directed.
-To assemble, use a small offset spatula to spread about 1/4 tsp. of jam on each of the un-poked cookies, within 1/8 inch of the edge. Lightly sift confectioners’ sugar over the poked cookies and place each on top of the jam-covered cookies.
-Keep in an airtight container at room temp, up to 4-5 days. Enjoy!
P.S. I’m also very partial to all things Linzer because it sounds like my name, #shameless.