Monday, February 8, 2010
These cookies are so pretty! My mom suprised us all, when she made them for valentines day last year. They would also be perfect for a valentines party!
Makes about 20 to 24 sandwich cookies:
1 1/2 Cups ground almonds or hazelnuts
1 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 Tablspoons) butter
1/2 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Raspberry or strawberry jam
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
If you're starting from raw hazelnuts, toast them in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Then transfer them to a kitchen towel and use the towel to rub off as much of the skin as possible. Transfer the skinned hazelnuts to a bowl and shake out the towel outside so the skins don't fly everywhere.(Yikes!)
If you're starting with raw almonds, follow these instructions to blanch them. Squeeze the nuts out of the skin and toast them in a 350 degree oven until they are dry and lightly goldent but not browned, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Cool the nuts completely before grinding them. Pulse them in a food processor until they are finely ground.
Whisk the ground nuts, flour, cinnamon, and salt together in a mixing bowl, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the vanilla and almond extract. Add half of this to the butter, beat and scrape down the bowl, beat until combined then add the rest of the egg mixture. continue to beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and continue mixing until all the ingredients have been combined.
Divide the dough in half, shape each piece into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap and chill, 2 hours in the fridge or 45 minutes in the freezer (the dough can be stored in the fridge for 3 days or 2 months in the freezer).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Keep one disc of dough in the fridge and roll out the other disc. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out as many cookies as the dough can fit. Gather up the scraps with the second disc of dough and continue to roll out the dough and cut out the cookies. Cut out the centers of half the cookies.
Transfer the cookies to the baking sheet and bake for 12 - 14 minutes or until the cookies are golden, dry, and firm to the touch. The cookies don't spread so they don't have to be spaced out too far apart. Cool the cookie sheets completely before baking a second batch.
Heat up some jam in the microwave or on the stove top until it it warm. spread about a half a teaspoon to a teaspoon of jam on the cookie and place a cookie with a cut out center on top. Lightly dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Finally after all that hard work you can ENJOY!