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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Spicy, Raspberry-y, Nummy Linzer Squares (Holiday Baking Part 12...yes I really am crazy and do make this all this stuff to give away)

Now I do realize that I tend to bang on a bit about how things have "the best smell ever". When I say it I do mean it and when I say it about these cookies, I mean it even more. These are the most heavenly smelling cookie to bake ever! I mean ever! Do you hear me? Ever. These are ground hazelnuts, butter, cloves, cinnamon, raspberry jam and almonds with heat applied. I am inhaling as we speak, I am wishing my apartment smelled like this always. I mean it. Always. I shouldn't fail to mention that they also taste phenomenal. These on a Yum-factor scale of 1 to 10 get a Yum-Factor of 100. Yum. Have I said yum yet? If I could I would keep these all for myself, but then I would be an even more rotund Barmy Baker, and that won't do me any good. Besides that, I like sharing. I also love mixing these because you do it all in the food processor, so it's easy. You will need a piping bag or some patience to roll out somewhat sticky dough into long snakes (as my piping bag and tip were lost in the move, and this dough was a bit too solid for a storage bag, I had to go with the sticky dough rolling's not too bad, but I think piping would be much faster, if not give you very strong forearms, so pipe if you can, Popeye!).

Linzer Bars (this recipe is from Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri. A great book for some different cookie ideas) Makes one 9x13" pan.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 ounces or 1 1/2 cups unblanched hazelnuts, finely ground in the food processor (and leave them in there because you will be adding the other ingredients to them. I also didn't have quite enough hazelnuts, so I subbed some almonds, I think you could use all almonds or other nut in this recipe)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 sticks, or 8 ounces, cold butter, cut into 16 pieces
2 large eggs
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 ounce sliced almonds (about 1/4 cup)
confectioner's sugar for dusting
-Heat the oven to 350f. Prepare a 9x13" pan by spraying it, lining it with parchment or foil and then spraying it with pan spray again (or butter it).
-Combine the flour, hazelnuts, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and baking powder in the food processor, pulse until combined.
-Add the butter and pulse until the butter is finely incorporated but stop before the mixture becomes pasty. Add the eggs and pulse until a soft dough forms.
-Using an offset spatula, spread half the dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared 9x13" pan.
-Evenly spread the preserves on top of the dough leaving about a quarter inch border.
-Place the other half of the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tube (Ateco #806). If you don't have this, you can roll the dough into strips, but this is sticky and a bit more time consuming. Pipe five equidistant lines of the dough along the length of the pan. Then pipe six or seven lines diagonally across the width of the pan, over the first five lines for a nice diamond pattern.
-Scatter and press the sliced almonds over the lattice top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is a bit browned and firm to the touch (inhale deeply). Cool the cake for about 10 minutes in it's pan, then using the paper, transfer it to a rack, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, and complete cooling.

Cut however you like, the book recommends cutting them in 24 squares, I tend to cut them a bit smaller, more bite sized. Enjoy!

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Brilynn said...

Keep it up! Your mass baking makes mine seem normal!

Jen the bread freak said...

Heehee. Anytime I can help someone feel normal about their baking, I'm a happy girl! ;)

Jacelyn said...

Hi, can I check with you if I can freeze these linzer squares? How did you keep all your xmas bakes made earlier in the month?

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Hi Jacelyn,

Yes, the linzer squares can be frozen. I tend to keep all the cookies I bake earlier in the month frozen until I am ready to pack them up and ship them to my relatives. I like to use airtight containers and ziplock bags to keep them safe in the freezer. :)

Jacelyn said...

Ooh...thxs alot. One more question though, do you let them defreeze at room temperature? Do you rebake them to make them crispy?