The best-selling author and longtime friend to Guideposts shares a favorite holiday recipe.
Posted in , Nov 9, 2015
Every Christmas my mother and I baked cookies and made hand-dipped chocolates for gift baskets. There was a basket for our parish priest, another for the nuns. She remembered the neighbors, the mail carrier, the milkman. It’s no wonder that I believe the best gifts come from my own hands and heart. Among my favorites are these Linzer cookies. But don’t give them all away! Treat yourself too, with a cup of hot cocoa and a holiday romance novel. May I suggest my newest, Dashing Through the Snow?
1 cup toasted almonds
¾ cup granulated sugar
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup semi- or bittersweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
½ cup seedless raspberry jam
Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish
In a food processor, pulse almonds and ¼ cup of sugar until finely ground.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, cloves and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and ½ cup sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, yolks and zest. Beat in the ground almonds and sugar mixture until just blended. Form the dough into 2 disks; wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to about ¼-inch thick. Using a 2-inch-round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on prepared sheet. Use a smaller cookie cutter on the centers of half the cookies. Reroll scraps. Repeat with second disk of dough.
Bake cookies for 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack. Cool.
Melt chocolate in microwave. Spread a small amount of chocolate on top of the cooled uncut cookies (the bottom half of the cookie sandwich). Let chocolate set in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle cutout cookies with confectioner’s sugar. Remove chocolate- coated cookies from refrigerator. Spread a thin layer of jam on top of the chocolate layer. Top with cutout cookie.
Makes about 50 cookies.
Reprinted with permission from Debbie Macomber's Christmas Cookbook © 2011 Harlequin Enterprises Limited.