I remember back to the time when I was much younger and cookie eating was restricted to the ones we got from the supermarket shelves since we didn’t have an oven at the time.
So, whenever I was allowed to pick a pack of biscuit // cookies, I’d always opt for the one with a jam filled center because for some reason that seemed way too attractive to me and tasted incredibly fruity.
I don’t know what happened in the years that followed, but the jam in the cookies began tasting more or less like chemicals (or was it always that way and I never seemed to notice?) Hmmm.
It stopped taking me back to the time when I actually enjoyed eating these cookies.
By then we’d invested in an oven and I knew that it was finally time to enjoy the heavenly aroma that makes the whole home smell like a bakery; and not just that, it also meant that I could bake fresh batches of cookies whenever the folks felt like having some with their tea.
These linzer cookies, although remind me of a commercial childhood favourite, are 1273 times better than them in the sense that they are made with real ingredients, have no chemical enhancers and taste just like how buttery, nutty cookies must taste like.
To make it even better, the jam used for these linzer cookies is not the dodgy supermarket jam that looks less like jam and more like a blob of gelatine; it’s freshly made strawberry mint jam, made in a small batch, perfect for the cookies and any leftover can obviously be used on toast or scones.
The subtle mint notes in the jam cools the back of your throat after you have revelled in the fruity berry jam. When sandwiched between two linzer cookies, these make for the perfect treat for Christmas mornings and even the in-between snacking that we all love and live by.
- 75 grams butter, softened
- 50 grams raw sugar (or caster sugar)
- 1 small egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 50 grams almonds, ground to a fine powder
- 200 grams all purpose flour
- 200 grams fresh strawberries (you can even use frozen, if unavailable)
- 150 grams raw sugar
- 50 mls water
- 3-4 large sprigs of mint
- For the dough, cream the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the egg and mix till everything comes together.
- Add the vanilla extract, mix well.
- Add the ground almonds and mix well.
- Once incorporated, slowly add the flour in several additions until well incorporated and a dough starts to come together.
- Knead briefly, about 1 minute until it forms a smooth dough.
- Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill a minimum of 2 hours or preferably, overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Once cold, roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper about 1/8 of an inch.
- Cut out the shapes using a cookie cutter.
- Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Refrigerate for another 10 minutes.
- Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes or until the sides of the cookie turn slightly brown.
- Take it out from the oven, let it cool for about 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the strawberry mint jam, combine all the ingredients for the jam and bring to a boil.
- Once it boils, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and let the jam cook down until reduced to about 1/4th of its original volume. This will take somewhere between 13 and 15 minutes. Make sure you keep stirring the jam to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
- Take it off the heat and let it cool. The jam will thicken as it cools.
- Once it comes down to room temperature, refrigerate until required.
- To make the linzer cookies, take one cookie, spread the cooled jam on it and cover with another cookie that has been dusted with icing sugar.