The Perfect Valentine's Day Linzer Heart Cookies

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. The best gifts are homemade with extra love. Our friend Felicia has some delicious and easy recipes on her blog, Unwritten Recipes. The "obsessed baker, breakfast, lunch and dinner maker and musical theater lyricist/librettist" doesn't just post incredible recipes though, she makes you feel like you are a part of the family. One of our favorites (which her boys also love) for the holiday is Valentine's Day Linzer Heart Cookies. They are beautiful by themselves and can be the perfect gift on pretty plate.

This recipe makes about 1 dozen large cookie sandwiches and some mini-sandwiches too; Depending on the size of cookie cutters that you use.

Prep Time:  15 minutes (plus chilling time) Rolling Out Time:  20 minutes (plus chilling time); Bake Time:  15 minutes; Assembly Time:  10-15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans (about 4 1/2 oz)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  •  at least 1/2 cup raspberry jam for filling (or strawberry, cherry or any kind you like)
  • at least 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar for dusting

Recipe

1.  Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together into a large bowl. Using a food processor, pulse the pecans until finely ground. Whisk the ground pecans into the flour mixture and set aside.

2.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed together for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, vanilla and lemon zest and beat to combine. Then scrape down the sides of the bowl and with the mixer on low-speed, add the flour mixture, beating for only 10-15 seconds until just combined.

3.  Lightly flour a wooden board or flat surface, turn the dough out onto it, divide it in half and flatten the two halves into disks. Wrap both in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to one day.

4.  Take one disk out of the fridge, unwrap it and let it soften a bit so that it doesn't crack when you roll it out. Place a large piece of parchment paper over your board or flat surface and dust it lightly with flour. Now roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness, loosening the dough from the bottom with an offset spatula (a regular one works fine too) just to make sure the dough isn't sticking to the paper. Transfer the dough still on the parchment paper to a baking sheet and put it into the freezer for about 20 minutes until firm. Repeat the entire process with the other disk.

5.  Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or just use the ones you've got in the freezer and shake off any excess flour). Using a 3-inch heart shaped cookie cutter cut out heart shapes from the rolled out dough. Then, using a 2-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out the centers from half the 3-inch cut hearts. Place them about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared sheets. This will leave you with mini-heart shaped cookies that you can bake and fill as well. When your baking sheet is filled, return it to the freezer for 15 minutes to chill (this helps the edges to remain neat). Meanwhile, gather together the scraps, re-roll out the dough and cut out as many cookies as you can, remembering that you want to have an even amount of plain hearts and ones with their centers cut out so that you can make sandwiches. Chill the additional cookies on the baking sheet as well.

Visit her blog for the full recipe.... enjoy!

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