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Monday, December 31, 2012

Linzer Sables, Linzer Augen or Linzer Torte

My neighbor once told me that one of his favorite cookies was what is commonly called "Linzer Torte."  Technically, a Linzer Torte is a cake which originated in Linz, Austria.  It is made of layers of a shortbread with ground nuts (often Hazelnuts, although I've always had them with almonds..probably because they are easier to obtain), layered with red current jam.  When my mom made them, it was always raspberry.....probably because I love raspberry jam or that that's what we made....currents weren't common in our neck of the woods.  The top layer was crisscrossed lattice pieces, then the whole was dusted with powdered sugar.

The cookie version is made of two layers, and while in the U.S. we usually all these Linzer Tortes as well, they are more properly called Linzer Sables, or Linzer Augen (Linzer eyes in German).  They are well known among Hungarian, Austrian, Swiss, German and Tirolean people, but sometimes they are also ascribed, rather inappropriately to "Scandinavians."  I am guessing because according to Wikipedia, Austrian Franz Holzlhuber brought them to Milwaukee in the 1850s where they spread from there.  While Milwaukee is predominantly German, I would hazard that someone probably threw in the Scandinavian angle as well.

At any rate, my daughter and I had a good time making them for our neighbor.  Megs didn't much care for them...I think probably because they aren't terribly sweet and they have more subtle tastes than her tongue is used to.  However, my neighbor, who is herself a fantastic baker and maker of some really killer biscotti said she liked mine best of all the ones she had here. is my recipe:

Linzer Augen/Linzer Sables/Linzer Torte

1 ½ C. unsalted almonds (or hazelnuts)
3 cups sifted flour, divided
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. Almond flavoring
2 tsp. Grated lemon zest (about the zest from 2 lemons)
2 eggs
Raspberry jam (apricot, red current, cloudberry or thimbleberry is also great—I usually use seedless as it is prettier, but it doesn’t much matter)
Sifted confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Chop almonds with ½ cup flour until fine (don’t just do the almonds, the flour helps get it the right grind).  In a medium bowl, combine nuts miexture, flour, butter, confectioner’s sugar, lemon zest and eggs. Mix well.  Wrap dough in plastic and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out dough cutting a solid for the base and a patterned one for the top (I don’t have the fancy Linzer tart cookie cutters, so I used my round shaped cutter and cut a small pattern out of the center)—make sure you have it in even sets of tops and bottoms.  Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until light gold in color.  Cool on a wire rack. Spread a thin layer of jam on the bottom cookie and place a “pierced” top on top.  Dust with sifted confectioner’s sugar.


Del said...

Sounds yummy. I'm fond of not too sweet cookies myself. I'll print out the recipe and add it to my Xmas cookie file. Might be nice for Valentines with a heart cutout.

Vivien Zepf said...

My mom always made linzer torte with hazelnuts. Yum!