Wolfgang Puck's ‘My Mother's Linzer Cookies’
This is one of Wolfgang's traditional Austrian recipes that he makes for the holidays. “My mother would always begin baking early in December and keep it up right through the holidays. I remember the smell of cookies baking in the oven and that would remind me that Christmas was right around the corner. This is one of my favorite recipes.”
- 1/2 Pound whole shelled hazelnuts
- 1 Cup cake flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 Pound unsalted butter, at room temperature if using a hand mixer
- 1 Cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 Teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 Teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 Cup raspberry jam
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Empty them into a folded kitchen towel, enclosing them between the folds, and rub them to remove their skins. Transfer the nuts to a food processor fitted with the stainless-steel blade and discard the skins. Add the flours. Process until the nuts are finely ground.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar together at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and lemon zest and continue mixing for 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the nut-flour mixture. Mix just until the mixture comes together into a smooth dough. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and gently press it into a flat disc about 2 inches thick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours, or preferably overnight.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into quarters. Place one piece between two sheets of lightly dusted parchment paper and roll out to an even 1/8-inch thickness. Repeat with the other pieces of dough. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes or longer.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with the rack in the lower third. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the freezer, one sheet at a time. Carefully peel the top piece of parchment off the dough, and, using a round 2-inch fluted- or straight-edged cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough. With a 1/2-inch diameter circular cookie cutter, cut out holes from the centers of half of the larger circles, giving them shapes resembling rings (the holes will make nice mini-cookies).
Carefully transfer the cookies to the baking sheets, about 1/2 inch apart. If the dough is too soft to transfer easily, return it to the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes. If you need to bake the cookies in batches make sure you let the baking sheets cool before baking each batch. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven until golden brown, 10 to 14 minutes. Slide the parchment onto cooling racks, and wait 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely.
Return the cookies to your work surface. Place a scant teaspoon of jam on each cookie without the holes and spread in an even layer. Generously dust the cookies with the holes with powdered sugar, either from a sugar sifter or from a fine-meshed sieve held over the cookies and tapped with your hand, and neatly place them on top of the jam so that the jam pokes out the center.