when i was fifteen i got my first job. it wasn’t a real job in the sense that i was paid for it, but it felt real to me. i was a volunteer in the day surgery ward of a hospital. i guess one would call it the equivalent of a candy striper. my uniform was not a pretty pink and white but was instead a royal blue pinafore with a “volunteen” name badge. i worked once a week, all day, stripping beds and wheeling discharged patients to their car. day surgery wasn’t much of a happenin’ place and i frequently had a lot of time on my hands. one afternoon, reading through an old magazine while waiting for something to do, i came across a recipe for some beautifully photographed linzer hearts. i wasn’t an experienced enough baker to know that this was a very traditional cookie, but in feeling grown up, i decided i wanted to start my own recipe collection and i would start with these hearts. i copied it out onto a paper towel of all things, apparently the only thing available to me at the time. i still have it, and it has a place amongst the holiday recipes in my recipe box. the original calls for ground almonds but i had ground hazelnuts on hand and decided to use them instead. they were wonderful. i found my ground hazelnuts at whole foods: they were a bob’s red mill product. these pretty cookies do take some time but they are well worth the effort.
happy valentines day!
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
1/2 c butter (unsalted please!) at room temperature
1/2 c packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c ground hazelnuts
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam; melted (if you cannot find seedless raspberry jam, pour the jam through a strainer after it is melted. this sounds like a big deal but it really isn’t a lot of trouble).
2/3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips melted, for decoration
powdered sugar for dusting
mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves. set aside.
in a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with electric mixer until fluffy. beat in egg, fold in hazelnuts. gradually stir in flour mixture until blended. divide dough in half. shape into flattened rounds, wrap, and refrigerate for one hour or until firm enough to roll out.
heat oven to 350 and have ungreased cookie sheets ready.
on a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time to 1/8″ thickness. cut out hearts with a 3″ heart shape cookie cutter. place half the hearts 1″ apart on cookie sheet. cut a 2″ heart from the center of remaining hearts. place heart frames on cookie sheet.
bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. immediately remove to racks to cool completely. dip the heart tips or rounded edge of the heart frames in melted chocolate. cool on wax paper until chocolate is firm. using wax paper to cover chocolate, dust frames with powdered sugar if desired.
brush one side of the whole hearts with the raspberry jam. top with decorated frame to form a “sandwich”. serve immediately.
makes 20 cookies