In every one of my German travels, Tomato has been by my side. Our first trip was back in 2005 when Munich was a stop on our crazy six-countries-in-two-weeks backpacking tour. Upon arriving in the downtown Hauptbahnof, we took some time to survey the scene and happened up on a little bakery/food court type kiosk where we each grabbed something to eat. Tomato grabbed a Linzer cookie, and it was love at first bite. She was hooked, and every time we go back, she is drawn to that train station bakery like a piranha to a skinny dipping missionary. It’s not only the train station, but she scours bakeries throughout the country, looking for those buttery, jam-filled bites of heaven wherever she can find them, and then hoards them like a chipmunk readying for winter. The last time we were in Munich the Hauptbahnof didn’t have them, which was weird because they ALWAYS have them, and I thought she might cry. I may be exaggerating, but am I really, Tomato?
Since it’ll be some time until BLT heads back to Germany, I figured I’d make these for my dear friend. And, because she lives in Chicago now, she gets to actually eat them, rather than hate me for sending her pictures of them. I’m nothing if not a thoughtful friend.
These aren’t exactly easy. Like any butter cookie, they take time and patience, and a willingness to have yourself and your kitchen covered in flour. My only tweaks to the original recipe were this: I used ½ shortening and ½ butter, and ground almonds rather than hazelnuts. I don’t really like to use shortening, but for any butter cookie, I’ve found that you have more leeway as far as working with the dough- it takes more time to get soft before you have to stick it back in the refrigerator. Just my two cents.
Makes about 18 sandwich cookies
½ cup butter
½ cup shortening
The zest of 1 lemon
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
1 cup almond meal (you can use hazelnut as well)**
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ cup your favorite flavored jam, as needed
Powdered sugar, for dusting
**If you can’t find almond meal, toast 1 cup almonds for about 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Once cool, place nuts in a food processor with ¼ cup of the sugar and pulse until finely ground. Almond meal/flour is pretty easy to find- if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, they have it there.**
1. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the almonds, flour, cinnamon, salt and lemon zest. Add this to the egg mixture.
3. Divide the dough in half, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, an hour or up to two days.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F.
6. Remove one ball of dough from the fridge at a time to roll, otherwise it will get too soft. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to about ¼” thick. Using a 3” cookie cutter, cut out the cookies, cutting a smaller hole in half of them. **If the dough gets too soft, put them in the fridge for about 10 minutes. This will prevent the dough from spreading too much in the oven.
7. Place about 1” apart on a cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes until they are lightly browned. Cool on a cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
8. Once the cookies have cooled, spread one whole cookie with jam and top with a holey cookie. Dust with powdered sugar. Eat.
Between the three of us, I could not find ONE picture of Tomato with a Linzer cookie, which is ridiculous since approximately 1/3 of all of our pictures are of us eating or what we want to eat or what we just ate. So I leave you with this, at our first Oktoberfest, 2009.