Valentine’s Day is Monday, and love is most certainly in the air. My good friends welcomed their new baby last night (love, love, love!) and Ella has met a new puppy friend that she seems quite smitten with. There’s all sorts of happy going on these days, and nothing says “I love life,” or “Love is lovely,” quite like a beautiful dessert that looks like it took some time and effort to prepare. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt if said dessert is sprinkled with powdered sugar and melt-in-your-mouth yummy. Love is sweet, you know.
I picked up a heart-shaped Wilton linzer cookie cutter at Michael’s a while back, and after giving it a solid test drive, I have to say it’s quite a handy little gizmo. I know, you’re probably thinking that it’s just another cookie cutter. But it punches like a pro and cleans up just as easily, which makes a winning cookie-making combination as far as I’m concerned. After looking up bunches of recipes for linzer cookies, I harkened back to my trusty Real Simple sugar cookie dough from a few Decembers ago, the magical dough that has yet to find a shape, method or style that doesn’t seem to suit it. And we already knew that we loved the flavor, so there were no worries there. There really are no special instructions for this cookie. It does take a little more time than your average slice-and-bake, but that’s what makes it feel so special. Your Valentine will appreciate the effort. So will your tummy.
Adapted from Real Simple (December 2009)
• 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter
• ¾ cups sugar
• 1 large egg
• 3 teaspoons vanilla
• powdered sugar for sprinkling (about 2 tablespoons)
• ½ to ¾ cup jam (we used raspberry)
In a large bowl, whisk together four, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth, then add the egg, and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture, and blend until just incorporated. Shape dough into disk, wrap with plastic wrap or wax paper, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each piece out to a scant ¼ inch. Using a linzer cookie cutter, cut half of the dough into solid base cookies and half into cutout top cookies. Place cookies on Silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart. Refrigerate on baking sheets until firm. Bake cookies until they’re just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack.
Once cookies are cool, sprinkle powdered sugar over all cutout cookie tops. Spread about a teaspoon of jam on each cookie base, then sandwich cookies by placing a powdered sugar top on each jam-covered base.
What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year? Will you bake up a storm? Go out on the town for a fancy dinner? Fill the house with pinks and reds and candy galore? Do tell!