The first snow of the season fell outside my kitchen window as I baked these cookies, and by the time I sifted powdered sugar onto the rows of cooled tops with their cutout stars and other shapes, both sides of the pane had quite a snow globe feel. When you make these buttery linzer cookies and their pineapple filling, your kitchen will take on a festive feel regardless of view, though if you can time it right, there is nothing like a roaring oven for coziness during a snowstorm.
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup pecan halves
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups butter (2 ½ sticks)
¾ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
20 ounce can of crushed pineapple in juice
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
While the linzertorte on which many jam-filled cookie sandwiches are based is an Austrian invention, this recipe relies on ingredients that originated in the Americas, pecans and pineapples, for a flavorful twist on a classic. A generous sprinkling of powdered sugar seems fitting for snow-filled months, but they are equally delicious on their own.
Begin by preparing the linzer cookie dough. Finely grind the pecans so that they will be evenly dispersed throughout the top and bottom of each finished cookie. Combine the ground pecans, flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until well-combined. Next add the flour mixture on low speed, stirring until just incorporated.
Divide the dough into two flattened disks, cover in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
While the dough chills, prepare the pineapple filling by pouring the crushed pineapple and its juice into a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, water, and juice of one lime and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 50 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Use a stick blender to puree the mixture, or pour it into a blender and puree, then return to the pan. Cook over medium-high for about 5 minutes, stirring very often, until the pineapple begins to darken to a golden amber color. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Once the cookie dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove one disk and allow it to soften until it is capable of being rolled without breaking. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Use 3-inch fluted or smooth round cookie cutters to make an even number of top and bottom pieces. Use smaller cookie cutters to cut shapes in the top pieces. Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets for about 9 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
Repeat the process with the second disk of dough. Any scraps can be combined into another flattened disk, chilled for about 20 minutes, and rolled out again. As the dough is coming to an end, I like to bake some of the mini shapes for snacking.
When the cookies have cooled, spread the pineapple filling on the flat side of the bottom pieces. Dust the tops with powdered sugar and combine to form sandwiches. Makes about 24 cookies and quite a few mini shapes.