For this year's annual V-Day treat, I decided to go back to the basics with heart-shaped cookies.
Not just any heart-shaped cookies, but chocolate Linzer cookies. If you have been around here for a while, this is the third type of Linzer cookie I have made although none of them have been particularly traditional. Maybe someday, but for now, I am perfectly happy making untraditional renditions of this Austrian favorite.
These came about because I was trying to use up some leftover jam I canned and made last year. If I recall correctly, it was a mix of strawberry and rhubarb on the crux of spring turning into summer. I was afraid the texture would be all wrong but it was actually perfect for these cookies. Jams that are too loose or wet make these cookies messier and more difficult to handle and assemble. I found that using a jam that is more firm and thicker is easier for Linzer cookies. The jam acts as a kind of glue that binds the top and bottom cookie together.
I initially was hesitant whether rhubarb and strawberry would go well with chocolate. In fact, I hopped over to the grocery store to buy another type of jam and also stood in my kitchen buttering leftover scrap cookie bits with strawberry and rhubarb jam. In the end it worked out. I guess it's kind of like a different form of chocolate-covered strawberries. Yes, it's kind of brown but it is the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
Feel free to use whatever cookie cutter shapes you desire for these Linzer cookies. I had yet to use the heart-shaped cookie cutters I received from Popo, so this seemed the most appropriate time to bust them out. I also did not have a smaller heart-shaped cookie cutter for the center so I used a smaller ½-1 inch round cookie cutter. But if you are totally anti-Valentine's Day or hearts, any other shape is perfectly fine.
I am personally not a fan of the over commercialization that comes with Valentine's Day but hey, it's a reason as any to eat cookies so I will do just that.
And a panther one, just because. :)
Chocolate Linzer Cookies
Cookie recipe slightly adapted from Sweet and Savory Meals
Yields: 20-25 medium cookies, 40-45 small cookies
Using cocoa powder to roll out the cookies instead of flour ensures that your cookies won't bake with a fine white crust around the edges.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- cocoa powder for dusting
- ½-¾ cup jam, flavor of your choice
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, for sifting on top
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, for sifting on top
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then vanilla extract, mixing well after each addition and making sure to stop and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Add in the cocoa powder. Mix well, stopping to scrape down the sides when needed. Slowly add in the flour mixture, and mix until smooth on low speed to avoid over mixing.
Shape the dough into two - three flat discs, wrap in plastic and chill for at least two hours or overnight.
When ready to bake preheat oven to 325º F.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking sheets and set aside.
One disk at a time, remove the dough from the refrigerator. To roll out, sprinkle cocoa powder onto a counter or non-stick baking mat and roll out one of the discs to ⅛ inch thick. If the disc is too hard, let it at room temperature for 10 minutes. Using a larger heart-shaped cookie cutter, start cutting out the cookies, making sure you have an equal amount of bottom and top cookies. Using the smaller center cutter, make center cut-outs into the top cookies.
Transfer cookies onto the prepared cookie sheets and place at least 1-inch apart. Bake for 9 minutes or until the edges are firm and centers are puffed.
Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Continue cutting out shapes with the rest of the dough.
Separate the top cookies from the bottom cookies. Place the top cookies on a plain cookie sheet. Whisk together the 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder and powdered sugar and gently sift an even layer on the top cookies. When ready to fill, spread about a ½ tablespoon jam on the bottom cookie, leaving ⅛ inch around the edges. Place a top cookie on top and carefully press together. Continue with the rest of the top and bottom cookies and the jam.
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for several months.