I know what I said yesterday about “premature Christmas cookies,” but then it started snowing. Not a Real Snow. No accumulation. But a steady flurry. And when the flurries start, you can’t fight the fa-la-la. So, we have Christmas cookies: Linzer Sablés.
What’s a Linzer Sablé? French sablés are buttery and sandy. Austrian linzers are nutty sandwich cookies with a layer of jam in the middle, usually visible via the top cookie’s naughty peekaboo design. These Linzer Sablés are sandy, buttery, nutty, slightly vulgar sandwich cookies.
I didn’t have the traditional scalloped cookie-cutter, the one that makes linzer cookies look like little flowers, so I improvised with my snowman. Instead of jam, I used ganache to seal the cookies and pipe the hats. Yes, we are bringing the fa-la-la-la-la.
Chocolate-Filled Linzer Sablés
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”
Makes 50 cookies (or 25 sandwich cookies)
- 1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Whisk together the ground nuts, flour, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Using a fork, stir the egg and water together in a small bowl.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the egg mixture and beat for 1 minute more.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. If the dough comes together but some dry crumbs remain in the bottom of the bowl, stop the mixer and finish blending the ingredients with a rubber spatula or your hands.
- Divide the dough in half.
- Working with one half at a time, put the dough between two large sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk, then grab a rolling pin and roll out the dough, turning it over frequently so that the paper doesn’t cut into it, until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Leave the dough in the paper and repeat with the second piece of dough.
- Transfer the wrapped dough to a baking sheet or cutting board (to keep it flat), and refrigerate or freeze it until it is very firm, about 2 hours in the refrigerator or about 45 minutes in the freezer. The rolled-out dough can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just thaw the dough enough to cut out the cookies and go on from there.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
- Peel off the top sheet of wax paper from one of piece of dough and, using your favorite cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can. (If you want to have a peekaboo cutout, use the end of a piping tip to cut out a small circle (or more) from half of the cookies. Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets, leaving a little space between them. Set the scraps aside to combine with the second disk to make more cookies.
- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.
- Repeat with the second disk of dough, making sure to cool the baking sheets between batches.
- For the Chocolate Filling: Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate; let stand briefly. With a whisk, gently stir until you have a smooth ganache. Stir in 1 tablespoon of butter. Chill the ganache briefly to bring it to spreading consistency.
- Place about 1/2 teaspoon of ganache in the center of half the cookies, and sandwich with the remaining cookies.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar.