Make it Naked

Linzer Cookies

They say with age comes wisdom and looking back this seems to be true. Birthdays used to be about Cabbage Patch Kids and My Little Pony. And then, older and wiser, they were about new clothes and shoes. And then, when you thought you were at your wisest, birthdays became about parties, wine and dinners out. Well today, another year older, another year wiser, this birthday is about cookies. And that, my friends, is nothing but pure genius. The original plan was pizza and wine in the city, but today is not only my birthday, it is the worst traffic day of the year and voluntarily sitting in DC traffic the day before Thanksgiving sounds like the worst birthday celebration ever. I want to raise a glass, not my blood pressure. I

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know, I sound old, but let me assure you, that’s not my age speaking, it’s my wisdom. So what’s a birthday girl to do when she cancelled her own birthday dinner? Eat cookies. I told you…GENIUS.

Today I will celebrate…me and my Linzer cookies. If I want to cancel dinner and eat cookies, I can. Because I’m 30. And when you’re 30 you can eat cookies for dinner….and lunch….and breakfast. Isn’t that the best part of adulthood? These cookies are THE celebration cookie. Today, they celebrate my birthday, but they really make an impression for any occasion. Want to say “Thank you”? How about “Congratulations” or “Merry Christmas”? Say it with these Linzer cookies. Trust me, it means more when cookies say it. All you need are mini cookie cutters. Order them online and viola, a very thoughtful, delicious gift. So, sleep in and skip the Black Friday chaos. I’m not telling you what to do, but I am older…and wiser. Sandwiched between two nutty, buttery and crisp cookies is a sweet, jammy center. The top cookie is cut out to expose the jam in whatever form you choose. The recipe calls for hazelnuts, but I’ve also used almonds before, and they are just as delicious. Use any flavor or color jam you’d like. They are versatile. They are delicious. They are genius. And when it’s your birthday…you can have your cake, but have your cookies too. Recipe from Martha Stewart Living Magazine (no changes necessary) Makes about 16 Ingredients: 5 ounces (1 cup) unblanched hazelnuts 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, room temperature (I used salted) 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting 1 cup jam (raspberry, cherry, strawberry, etc) Directions:

  1. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a 375° oven for 10 minutes. If the hazelnuts have the skin on them, as soon as you remove them from the oven, wrap them in a dish towel and rub vigorously in the towel to remove as much of the skin as possible. It’s ok if some of the skins won’t come off. Let the nuts cool completely.
  2. Place the nuts
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    in a food processor, and process until finely ground.

  3. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Mix together the ground hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and add to the butter mixture. Beat on low until combined, about 2 minutes.
  5. Form the dough into two flattened disks, wrap each with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. You can put it in the freezer to speed up the process if you don’t have an hour to spare.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Keep the other half refrigerated. If the dough is breaking and not rolling, it’s too cold so give it a few minutes and it should then be workable. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter (or the rim of a glass), cut out cookies and transfer to a parchment covered cookie sheet with a spatula. Using whatever mini cutter you choose, cut the centers out of half of the cookies. Repeat rolling and cutting with the other half of the dough. Combine the scraps from both batches, reroll and cut.
  8. Bake until the edges are golden, 12 to 16 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove and let cool completely.
  9. Lightly sift confectioners’ sugar over the cut-out tops. Spread about a tablespoon of jam on the bottoms (the cookies without the cut outs). Top each jam-covered cookie with a cut-out cookie. Enjoy!

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Posted on November 24, 2010

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