Walnut Linzer Cookies

walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co
walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co
walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co
walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co

Linzer cookies are a holiday classic - usually made with almonds and raspberry jam as a nod to the Austrian Torte which they are named after. I took a few liberties here - swapping deeply toasted walnuts for the almonds and fig and currant jams for the raspberry so this is definitely a cookie where you can have some fun. Don’t have walnuts and fig jam? Try pecans or pistachios with strawberry or cranberry jam. If you are a home canner, I bet you have a few jars open in your fridge already. Feel free to use what you have. I used a round cookie cutter, and a couple of different sized round cutters for the centers of my cookies, but you could certainly use something a little more decorative. I also liked the look of cutting the centers purposely off-center, but it made the cookies tricky to move and they shifted in the oven a bit so I can’t say that I’d recommend it.

Walnut Linzer Cookies

Makes about 30 sandwich cookies

Slightly adapted from Holiday Cookies by Elisabet der Nederlanden

This nut-filled dough is delicious and delicate. Make sure to use enough bench flour that it doesn’t stick to your surface and handle it carefully when you are transfering the cookies to the baking sheets. I found a small offset spatula to be helpful with this task. These will loose their crispness after the first day, but are still delicious after a few days on the counter. Store them in an airtight container and redust with confectioner’s sugar if necessary.

1 1/4 cups (105g) chopped, deeply toasted walnuts

3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup (225g) cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup jam

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

In a food processor, combine the walnuts, sugar, lemon zest, and salt and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and pulse until well combined. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse until a few small pieces of butter remain. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Pulse until the dough just starts to come together.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat it into a square about 1-inch thick. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 2 days.

When you are ready to bake position 2 racks, evenly spaced, as close to the center of the oven as possible and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the dough in half and keep half of the dough in the refrigerator while you work. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2- inch round cookie cutter to cut as many circles as possible. Carefully transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets. Use a small circle or decorative cutter to cut the centers out of half of the cookies on the sheets. Gather up the scraps and repeat. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Chill the cut cookies for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake the cookies 17-19 minutes or until barely golden. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the sheets to cooling racks and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.

Use a fine mesh sieve to dust the cooled cookies with a cutout with confectioner’s sugar. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the jam on each of the other cookies. Top the jammed cookie with the sugared cookie and serve.

Snuk Foods sent me the incredible fig jam I used in these cookies - you can find it on their site (alongside tons of amazing International pantry items!) HERE.

walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co
walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co

Walnut Cake with Beet Tinted Glaze

walnut cake with beet tinted glaze | apt 2b baking co
walnut cake with beet tinted glaze | apt 2b baking co
walnut cake with beet tinted glaze | apt 2b baking co

It has been a weird winter in NYC with mild weather, punctuated by a "weather event" every now and then - like a few days of historically cold temperatures or a few feet (!) of snow that was gone in a matter of days. Call me crazy, but I love bundling up and crunching around snowy streets (I even like shoveling the sidewalk!) and I have been pretty bummed that we are getting all of the barren trees and grayness of this season without the blanket of fresh white snow every couple of weeks. 

I have decided that the cure for all of this boring gray is a heavy dose of Technicolor in the form of fun and colorful baking projects . Last week, I posted some seriously gorgeous matcha glazed chocolate bundts and for this cake I returned to my old friend - the humble red beet. Just a spoonful of beet puree will tint a whole batch of glaze the loveliest pink hue, without much effect on the flavor. The walnut cake is the dense, poundcake sort that is still great after a couple of days on the counter, and is perfect with a cup of coffee.

Walnut Cake with Beet Tinted Glaze

makes one 4x10-inch or 9x5-inch loaf cake

Walnut Cake

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (280g)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (100g) toasted walnuts, very finely chopped

18 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350ºF and butter and flour a loaf pan.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and walnuts together in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a standing mixer beat the butter and the sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time mixing for 30 seconds in between each egg.

Combine the vanilla extract and milk, then alternately add the flour mixture and the milk in 3 additions. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that the batter is evenly mixed.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean 45-60 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack for 20 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a rack to cool completely. Glaze.

Beet Tinted Glaze

You can, of course, add more beet puree for a more saturated glaze. You may need to add a bit more confectioner's sugar to get the right consistency.

2 cups (200g) confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon beet puree

2 teaspoons lemon juice

seeds from one vanilla bean

2-4 tablespoons milk

Whisk the confectioners sugar, beet puree, lemon juice, and vanilla bean seeds together. Whisk in the milk, a couple of teaspoons at a time until a thick, but pourable glaze forms. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and let it set for about 30 minutes before slicing.