Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday at the Table

Back in my days as a pastry chef, I led a very seasonal work-life. There were coconut cakes for Easter, marionberry pies for the Fourth of July and of course, pumpkin and pecan for Thanksgiving. There were overwhelming orders for fruitcakes and steamed cranberry puddings for Christmas. And for Valentine's Day, there were cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.
cookie cutters from my collection/Valentine's quilt by my daughter Rachel of Snippets of Sweetness

I was pleased to bring my Linzer Hearts recipe to the bakery, where it became a customer favorite.

And the essential Shortbread Hearts, which I occasionally dipped in chocolate, like Martha does. But more often, I piped them with French words of love, per the owner's request. . . je t'aime beaucoup. . . mon amour . . . je t'adore . . .

I remember wrapping up leftover tidbits of cookie dough to bring home and bake off for my family. I'd pack the cookie hearts in little cellophane bags, tied with a ribbon bow. And in they'd go into their sack lunches. A sweet holiday indeed!

Linzer Hearts
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup cornstarch
2 cups shelled walnuts, finely grated
1/2 cup raspberry preserves

1. Cream butter and 1 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix well. Sift together the flour and cornstarch. Add to the butter mixture and blend well. Thoroughly mix in ground walnuts. Gather dough into a ball, flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 4-6 hours.
2. Roll dough out t ¼ inch thickness. Using a small heart shaped cookie cutter (about 1 ½ inches long), cut out cookies and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Chill cookies for 45 minutes. If dough gets too soft while cutting out cookies, gather up and chill for a little longer until you can roll and cut out cookies.
3. Preheat oven to 325°F . Bake cookies 10-15 minutes until evenly lightly browned. Remove and cool on a rack. While still warm, spread half the cookies with raspberry jam, using about a ¼ teaspoon for each. Top each cookie with one of the remaining cookies.
4. Sift the remaining confectioner’s sugar into a bowl. Press top and bottom of the cookies into the bowl of sugar to coat. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Shortbread Hearts
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Cream butter and confectioners' sugar together until light.
2. Sift flour and salt together and add to creamed mixture. Add vanilla and blend thoroughly.
3. Gather dough into a ball, wrap in wax paper, and chill for 4 to 6 hours.
4. Roll out chilled dough to 5/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch-long heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar. Place cut-out cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and refrigerate for 45 minutes before baking.
5. Preheat over to 325°F.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until just starting to color lightly; cookies should not brown at all. Cool on a rack.
Makes 20 cookies.
Recipes from from The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Russo and Sheila Lukins

For a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to use at Pink Chalk Fabrics, link any post (or flickr photo) containing a recipe, a Valentine-y quilt project, or your own "table-talk".  {details here}

11 comments:

  1. Your recipes look delicious, Debbie!

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  2. mmmm. both look delicious. pinned!

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  3. Thank you my friend for the motivation to get me back into my kitchen. Love your collection of cookie cutters and both cookie recipes sound delicious. Might just try those shortbread hearts tonight. :)

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  4. And now I have shortbread cookies to make because of you. :) Both recipes look delicious!! Also, Happy Birthday to "the Son"!

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  5. Mmm I love shortbread. Dipping it in chocolate would put it over the top!

    I always wanted to be a pastry chef but didn't want to go to culinary school (a necessity around here for a job).

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  6. Pastry chef?! That explains the serious yumminess around here :-) And yes, I WILL be trying those Linzer Hearts - I have a Linzer Bar recipe (because I'm lazy) that is one of our favorites around here. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Yum!! Those cookies look Delish!

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  8. Those linzer hearts look so good, Debbie! Happy Birthday to your son, too!

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  9. Oh, those linzer hearts *do* look good! I will definitely try those. My daughter's birthday is Februrary 14, and she requested Strawberry cake. (She is 3, and her favorite color is pink!) so this I made Strawberry cake, filled with pureed strawberry sauce, with strawberry cream cheese frosting. I also made a nice dinner for our family, and set the table with china, crystal, and candles for the special occasion. The menu: mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette; homegrown pumpkin soup; crab cakes, baked scallops, and creamy spinach. Thanks for hosting this space to share my Valentine goodies; and thanks for the inspirational recipes! I think it would be fun to spend a day in the kitchen with you.

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  10. i love shortbread~!
    would love to give this recipe a go ~ thank you for sharing.

    :-)
    libbyQ

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