There is something about cutting a little heart (or star at Christmas time) out of the center of the Linzer cookie dough which elevates these rather regular cookies, or biscuits as we say in the U.K., into something very special. I sometimes make the cookie itself heart shaped, because you can never have too much love.
The dough is very well behaved. You can use it to make plain shortbreads, without the raspberry jam. I have also been known to cut out hearts and dip them in either plain or milk chocolate.
We have biscuits in the UK called Jammie Dodgers, which are basically Linzer Cookies, and a staple of any British childhood in much the way that Oreos are in the USA. My husband tells me that when he was at college he and his friends would introduce themselves as designers. The chat up line went something like…’Hi, I am a designer, biscuit designer – Jammie Dodgers; that was one of mine!’
3/4 pound/3 sticks/350g of butter at room temperature - now I use salted butter but do not add extra salt. If your butter is unsalted then add a large pinch of salt.
3 cups/141/2 ounces/410g of all purpose flour
1 cup/71/2 ounces/280g of sugar (I keep a vanilla pod in my sugar which makes it slightly scented)
Dash of vanilla essence
Good raspberry jam
Confectioners sugar (Icing sugar) to finish.
Pre Heat oven to 350F
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl.
Add the vanilla essence.
Add the flour ( or flour and salt) and mix until the dough starts to form a ball.
Divide the mixture into two and, working quickly on a floured surface, knead into two flat disks.
Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least twenty minutes.
Working on a floured surface, roll the ought out to a 1/4 inch thick.
Cut out rounds with a plain or flutter cutter. You can gather the trimmings and reroll until you use all the dough.
In the middle of half of cookies cut out your shape of choice.
Bake in oven for around 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just browned.
Cool on wire cooling rack.
When cold, sandwich together with the raspberry jam, and dust with powdered sugar.