If you are reading this post and rolling your eyes, I don’t blame you one bit. Yes it certainly is very early to start publishing Christmassy recipes – seeing as it is still November. But bear with me, I have a good excuse. I work in publishing and in publishing you sort of exist in this accelerated reality. I started researching our Christmas issues in August, I did the propping in early September and by mid September we had completed two photo shoots – mince pies and Christmas decorations galore. This is not quite as bad as one of my first jobs – creating The Ultimate Christmas book… in July! Anyway, the magazines have finally gone to print (phew) and my editor has already received a press release about Spring products – see what I mean? Can I be blamed for feeling the festive pull a little bit early?
These Linzer cookies don’t have to be just for Christmas of course (in fact they are pretty cute for Valentine’s Day if you shape them as hearts), but with their dusting of icing sugar – like sweet snow as my 5 year old said – and jewel-like jam centres, they are perfectly festive, intentionally or not. The jam – Apple and Blackberry – comes from Farmhouse Kitchen via Caprera, a new website which features products made in small batches by independent producers. Caprera aims to connect artisan food lovers and small independent producers and, at the moment, 15 producers have joined their marketplace with more expected soon. Take a look at their selection of goodies, ranging from sauces and condiments, to cured meat to cider and gin.
makes 12-20 depending on size of cutter
200g | 7oz plain (all purpose) flour
100g | 3.5oz caster sugar
100g | 3.5oz ground almonds
100g | 3.5oz unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp cardamom pods
1/4 tsp salt
Blackberry & Apple jam to fill (or jam of your choice)
icing sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and place cardamom pods in a small tray and roast for a couple of minutes – take care as they can burn easily. Break the pods with a small sharp knife, and crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar until they are finely ground. You need half a tablespoon of ground cardamom in the dough. Turn the oven off – you will need to rest the dough before baking the cookies.
- Put the flour, sugar, ground almonds, baking powder, ground cardamom and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix together using the paddle attachment.
- Add the egg and butter and briefly mix together until the a dough forms.
- Tip the dough onto your worktop and gather together with your hands – it may be a little crumbly. Divide in half, form into disks and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer.
- When you are ready to bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Line two heavy trays with baking paper.
- Dust your worktop with a little flour and unwrap your dough. Leave it for 5 minutes then roll out and cut rounds with small fluted round cutters (or any shape you like, but keep the size consistent). Cut a smaller shape out of the centre of half your rounds. Continue rolling out the dough until you have used it all up, gathering any scraps.
- Transfer the cookies onto the prepared trays and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges start to colour. You will need to bake them in batches alternating between the two trays. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to cool.
- Dust all the cookies with cut out centres with a generous amount of icing sugar. Spread softened jam onto the remaining cookies and then sandwich together.