What could be better than homemade hearts for Valentine’s Day? These cookies are extra big Linzer Hearts filled with homemade red currant jam. The tartness of the jam is the perfect foil for the sweet and tender shortbread. Seedless raspberry jam, with its beautiful deep pink color would be just as good a filling for these cookies!
This is an original Austrian recipe – I got it from my mother-in-law – and it’s one of my most treasured recipes. These cookies are soft and buttery, with a touch of vanilla and are just a little fruity from the jam. Everyone has their favorite recipe for Linzer Cookies but none of them taste as good as these do! Even these big hearts are wonderfully tender – and the cutting out of and filling the cookies take only half as long as with the little Christmas Linzer cookies. The secret to making them so tender? Letting the filled cookies sit and absorb some of the moisture from the jam for a couple of days! Yes! The consistency will not disappoint. You can make these up to 10 days ahead of time – as long as you have a good hiding spot. 😉
Big Linzer Hearts
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons (300 g) flour
- A pinch of salt
- 1 cup (110 g) powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1 pkg. vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 egg yolks
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (200 g) butter cold and cubed
- 7 oz. (200 g) seedless red currant or raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 350°F (170°C). Sift the flour onto your work surface. Make a well in the center of the flour, sprinkle the flour with salt and put the powdered sugar, vanilla extract or vanilla sugar and egg yolks into the center. Distribute the cubed butter over the flour.
With a fork, mix the egg yolks with the powdered sugar and some of the flour, making a thick paste. Then begin rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingertips. When there are only shreds of butter remaining, bring all the dough together with your hands and knead it 2-3 times, just until you form a smooth dough.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days. The dough should be cold when you roll it out. Roll the dough to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thickness on a well-floured work surface. Cut out hearts with a big (4 inch or 10 cm) cookie cutter and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cut a smaller heart out of the center of half the cookies with a small (1 inch or 2.5 cm) heart cookie cutter. Knead the scraps together and repeat rolling and cutting out the hearts.
Position the baking tray in the center of the oven and bake at 350°F (170°C) for about 10 minutes, or just until the edges of the cookies start to brown. Remove from the oven and carefully pull the parchment paper, with the cookies on it, off the tray and onto a work surface for the cookies to cool.
Warm the jam for 20 second intervals in the microwave until it is a slightly runny and stir it. Using a spoon, spread the bottoms of the hearts without holes generously with jam and top with the hearts with the cutouts. Dust with powdered sugar. Store cookies in an airtight container for at least two days to allow them to become tender.
Here are some tips for working with this dough:
~ If the dough is very hard when you take it out of the refrigerator, you may need it to let it stand at room temperature for an hour or two before you can roll it out.
~ You don’t want to roll these out too thinly - because of their big size they would break more easily later.
~ The dough often sticks to the work surface when rolling it out. Carefully slide a thin, flexible knife under the dough to release it.
~ The last of the dough scraps can be used to make thumbprint cookies: roll the dough into balls and make an indentation in the middle, bake, then fill the indentation with jam.