Last year I had done a mini series on treats you can make for Valentine’s Day, whether you make a dessert heart-shaped or add a heart or make it red velvet or just have some form of chocolate; it was Valentinesy enough. This year I didn’t have the time to focus on
Hallmark’s Cupid’s holiday
but I did manage to sneak in this recipe from Nick Malgieri’s Cookies Unlimited
that I’d been meaning to try for awhile. (I’m always meaning to try recipes for
awhile – so many recipes, so little time.)
I like and don’t like linzer cookies. I like the cookie part because I like the flavor and it’s really pretty with the bright red raspberry jam filling that marks a linzer cookie. But alas, I don’t like raspberry jam or jam in general so I don’t eat traditional linzer cookies from bakeries, available in a store or made by other people. But when I make my own, I can use any filling I want and that’s what I did with this recipe. Cookie butter! It’s been at least a few weeks since I’ve uttered those words but here I am spewing them again. Cookie butter!
My only mistake was I should’ve used a large cookie sheet when I rolled out the dough. The small one I used didn’t allow me to roll out the dough as thinly as I should have or I would’ve run out of room. So my cookies, once sandwiched together, were a little, uh, hearty. That didn’t stop me from being generous with the filling because – you know – cookie butter. You can fill one of two ways: either simply spread the filling over the bottom, non-cutout cookie, mound a little more in the center, place the cutout cookie on top and press gently together, allowing the mounded center to rise up to fill the cutout space. Or you can spread a thin even layer on the bottom cookie, press the cutout cookie on top, heat some of the filling slightly and “fill in” the cutout with the warm filling. The first method is easier, the second method probably gives you a smoother look. Either way, these cookies taste great. My prejudice against jam fillings aside, the cookie butter nicely complemented the cinnamon, nutty flavor of the cookies themselves. I skipped the traditional dusting of powdered sugar on the top cookie. That might make it look prettier but it adds unnecessary calories. You want to reserve your calorie budget for a generous helping of cookie butter filling. At least you do if you're me. Happy V-Day.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces (about 1 cup) whole blanched almonds, finely ground in the food processor
1 cup cookie butter (Speculoos or Biscoff spread)
confectioners' sugar for sprinkling
- In a bowl, combine the flour and spices; stir well to mix.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together on medium speed the butter and sugar until soft and light, about 5 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and beat in the almonds and the flour and spice mixture, one at a time.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large rubber spatula to finish mixing the dough. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap and chill the dough until it is firm, about an hour, or up to several days.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut the dough into three parts and refrigerate two of them. Place one third on a floured surface and flour it lightly. Roll dough about 1/4 inch thick. Use small fluted cookie cutters to cut the dough. Use a smaller cutter to cut a center in half of the cookies.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange cookies evenly. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until a very pale golden color. Cool on the sheets on wire racks. When completely cool, dust the center-cut cookies lightly with powdered sugar.
- Warm cookie butter slightly, 10-12 seconds in the microwave. Pipe in the center of the uncut cooled cookies and place a center-cut cookie on top. Repeat with remaining cookies.