Looking for a Christmas cookie that’s a little bit different? Try these delicious linzer bars that I adapted from Good Housekeeping’s Susan Westmoreland. The dough is tender and soft, reminiscent of Archway cookies but with a lemonny hazelnut-cinnamon flavor. You’ll have a hard time staying away from these babies. And, though I’ve used – and highly recommend -- blueberry preserves, you can use whatever preserves you choose. The original recipe from Susan calls for sour cherry preserves.
The dough is very soft and challenging to work with. (I whisked my flour, then lightly spooned it into the measuring cup, leveling it off with a spatula. I suspect that GH scooped their dough. This could account for their dough being firm, and mine being soft.) Make your ropes very thin, because I found that they spread. I’ll make them thinner next time – but a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar covers up imperfections and, once you taste these, I promise you won’t care. Next time, though, I’ll refrigerate the dough overnight for better flavor development and firming up.
|Blueberry Linzer Bars |
Adapted from Susan Westmoreland, Good Housekeeping
Rating: 9 out of 10
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|1-3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour |
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and cooled*
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest + 1/2 tsp. to add to preserves
1 large egg
1 jar (12 oz.) blueberry preserves, or other tart preserves of choice **
1 tsp. lemon juice
Line 13" by 9" metal baking pan with foil, letting foil extend at short ends. On waxed paper, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
In food processor with metal blade attached, pulse hazelnuts and sugars until nuts are finely ground. Add butter and 1/2 tsp. lemon zest and pulse till well combined, about 30 seconds. Add egg and pulse just till incorporated. Add flour mixture and pulse just until blended.
Reserve 1 1/2 cups dough for top layer. With floured fingers, press remaining dough firmly into bottom of prepared pan. In small bowl, combine preserves, remaining 1/2 tsp. lemon zest and lemon juice. Spread evenly over crust, up to 1/4 inch from edges.
Place reserved dough in a sturdy decorating bag fitted with 1/4 inch round tip. (Dough is very stiff. Do not use plastic bag for piping; it may burst). Pipe dough in diagonal lines, 3/4 inch apart, over preserves. Pipe remaining dough around inside of pan to create a finished edge. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until dough is lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack.
When cool, transfer with foil to cutting board. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 bars. Store in tightly covered container, with waxed paper between layers, at room temperature up to 3 days, or in freezer up to 1 month. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar to serve if you like. Yield: 32 bars
*To toast hazelnuts: Spread hazelnuts on a 9” pie plate and bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or till beginning to brown. Cool (You can roll hot nuts in a clean dish towel to remove skins, if desired, but I didn’t bother.) Cool nuts completely.
** Use preserves instead of jam or jelly for best results.
Today’s post is part of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda Thompson. Her blog is Meal Planning Magic.
Be sure and check out all of the fabulous treats the other 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats bakers came up with this week. And, if you would like to join the hop and add your own Christmas treat recipes, just contact Brenda for details.