Feelin the Love

We’re back from our little trek to Punta Cana where Stephan and I shot a fabulous wedding this past weekend. We managed to get there in one piece, although the Dominican Republic website kinda scares you when it has a full page of crime warnings. After reading a little on the website, I was terrified to get in a taxi as I thought we were gonna get mugged and left for dead. I was concerned that a man on a scooter was going to run me down and steal my handbag. In reality Punta Cana was not scary at all. It was quite beautiful, actually. You probably don’t want to wander around outside of the resort at night, but you don’t want to really do that in Miami either!

The resort, Edenh Real Arena was lovely. There are many amenities… scuba, snorkeling, wind surfing, kayaking… etc. Since the resort is all-inclusive, the food is also included. We were soooo excited to eat at the four “gourmet” restaurants. That is, until we had our first meal… I was very disappointed, but I now I understand how “all-inclusive” works. I suppose I’m pickier than your average person, but it was disappointing. However, the amazing white sand and unbelievable breeze totally made up for the mediocre food. Anyway, it was a fabulous working vacation. We found a little time to sit under a tiki hut with a fruity drink… a little unwinding and reconnecting after a busy wedding season. Good times for all.

Now to get on to the post, it’s one of my favorites… Linzer cookies. They are traditionally made with ground hazelnuts, but I chose to use almonds. The recipe is adapted from Nick Malgieri’s Cookies Unlimited.

Linzer Cookie Recipe

2 2/3 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
16 tbsp (2 sticks or 8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c granulated sugar
4 oz (about 1 cup) blanched almonds, finely ground in food processor
1 c seedless raspberry jam
Confectioners sugar for sprinkling

1. Combine the flour and spices in a small bowl and stir to mix. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and soft, about 5 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and add the almonds and then the flour, just until almost combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish mixing the dough by hand. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a rectangle. Refrigerate until firm, at least an hour.

2. When you are ready to bake the cookies, set the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Cut the dough into three parts and refrigerate two of them. Place one third of the dough on a floured surface and flour it lightly. Press and pound the dough gently with a rolling pin to soften it, and then roll the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Use a 2 to 3 inch cutter to cut the dough. Place the cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets, leaving about an inch in all directions. If you have a small heart shaped cutter, cut the center out of half of the cookies to create the window. If not, use a small round cutter or a pastry tube. Press the scraps together and roll again to cut more cookies.

3. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until they are a very pale golden color. Cool them on the pans on racks.

4. Stir the raspberry jam until it is spreadable. If you like, you can also reduce it in a small pan on the stove to thicken it. When the cookies are cool, dust the pierced cookies lightly with the powdered sugar. Invert the non-pierced cookies and spread about 1/2 tsp jam on each. Top with the pierced cookie, powdered sugar side up. Use a small spoon or a piping cone to fill the window of the cookies with more jam. Store finished cookies in a tin or plastic container with a tight fitting cover.

Makes about 18 cookies