Pecan Raspberry Linzer Cookies
Just dropping in to take a short break from all of the holiday baking and gift making so that I can share the last cookie month recipe. I think these are the prettiest and most festive of all of the cookies because they unintentionally came out looking like little wreaths. Making these yesterday definitely put me in the holiday mood, and I have a feeling they will do the same for you.
Though these require a lot of different steps from start to finish, they are rather easy to make. And, they allow a certain amount of wiggle room in terms of what shapes you make them, what nut meal you want to use (if any), and what type of jam to sandwich in the middle. I chose a naturally sweetened raspberry jam because it provides a nice tart contrast to the sweet cookies, but any jam will work. Just about everyone can enjoy these beauties because they are vegan, gluten free, soy free, and nut free if you follow the suggestions for leaving out the nut meal.
If you don't feel like going to the trouble of assembling these cookies, this dough makes great sugar cookie cut-outs. Simply cut out whatever shapes you want, decorate them with sugar or sprinkles, then bake for the same amount of time (removing them when the edges are golden). You can also ice or glaze them with whatever your heart desires.
Pecan Raspberry Linzer Cookies
notes: I used pecan meal because pecans are rather abundant in Texas this time of year, and I love them. You could also use hazelnut meal or almond meal in it's place if you prefer. Or, if you want to leave the nuts out, omit the 1/2 cup pecan meal and add an additional 1/4 cup of brown rice flour. I used St. Dalfour brand raspberry preserves (they are naturally sweetened with grape juice), but feel free to use any jam you like. As for the size of the cookie cutters, I used a 3 1/16" fluted round cutter and a 1 1/2" plain round cutter for the center. Dough recipe slightly adapted from here.
2 cups brown rice flour, plus a bit more for rolling out the cookies
1/2 cup pecan meal
1 1/4 cups all natural cane sugar
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1 tsp fine grain sea salt or kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum or ground flaxmeal
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup melted coconut oil (melt first, then measure)
1/3 cup ice cold water
organic powdered sugar
Sift together all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the dry ingredients together to combine them. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low (or by hand), add the wet ingredients to the dry until a crumbly, sandy looking dough forms. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the cold water until the dough comes together in a ball and is slightly tacky when touched. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with a bit of brown rice flour. At this point you can decide which cookie cutters to use. You will want to use the same for the top and bottom, plus a smaller one to cut the "window" out of the top cookie.
When the dough has chilled, remove half of it, form it into a ball, and roll it around on your work surface to lightly coat it with the flour. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick (or a bit less). Using your large cookie cutter for the top/bottom of the cookie, cut out the cookies, then place them on your lined sheets about one inch apart. Continue this process with the remaining cookie dough. Once all of the cookies are cut, use your small cutter to cut out the "window" out for half of the cookies. These will be the tops of the cookie, while the other half will be the bottoms. You can bake the little cut-outs separately if you want to have some extra cookies, or eat them raw.
Bake the cookies in your pre-heated oven for about 7 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes until the cookies have firmed up and the edges are golden. The cookies with the cut-outs will bake a bit faster than the others so keep that in mind. Cool the cookies at least 15 minutes on the baking sheets before moving them to a rack to cool completely.
To assemble: dust the tops of the cookies (the ones with the cut-outs) with powdered sugar. For the cookies that will serve as the bottom, flip them over and spread a good dollop (about a tablespoon or so) of the jam on them. (You want to flip them over and use the flat side that was in contact with the baking sheet so that the cookies fit together evenly when assembling.) Make sure you don't spread the jam all the way to the edge so it has a bit of room to spread out once you place the other cookie on top. Once you have all of your cookie bottoms covered in jam, place the cookie tops onto the bottoms and gently press to adhere to the jam. Continue with the remaining cookies. Makes about 14-15 linzer cookies.