The holiday party was a success with a giant slab of roast pork and some last minute teriyaki chicken done in the pressure cooker. Last minute because I realized that somebody coming from a Hanukkah party probably wouldn't do roast pork. For once I didn't over prepare, everything was bite-sized, and we stomped a big carbon footprint by using disposable everything. It was the easiest party I have thrown in recent memory, and the low stress=less wine consumption. This was excellent since I had a trail run at 0730 the next morning. Sophie suggested linzer cookies as our final dessert option. By cutting them into squares I maximized dough utilization and minimized rolling time. Both important when your cookie is essentially two cookies. I got the recipe from Alice Medrich's "Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy" and used the almond option. I only chilled x 3 hours and had no trouble rolling this dough.
2 1/4 cups (10.125 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (5 oz) almonds and/or hazelnuts
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 lb. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp grated lemon zest or 1/4 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp grated orange zest or 1/4 tsp orange extract
(now that I am typing this I realized I actually used a tsp of each of the extracts and everything came out fine)
Combine flour/nuts/sugar/salt/cinnamon/cloves in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the butter (cut into pieces if firm) and pulse until the mixture looks damp and crumbly. Add the extracts/zests and pulse until the mixture begins to clump around the blade. Remove the dough and press into a ball. Form into two patties and wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight. The dough may be frozen for up to 3 months.
Preheat oven to 325F. Remove dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temp until supple enough to roll but still quite firm. Roll to a thickness of 1/8" Cut into shapes. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheet. Use a smaller cutter or a large pastry tip to cut out a hole out of half of your cookies. Bake 13-15 minutes until the cookies are just beginning to color at the edges. Let the cookies firm up on the pan for 1-2 minutes and then cool completely on racks. To assemble spread a thin layer of preserves on the solid cookie. Dust powdered sugar over cookies with cutouts. Place on top of cookie with preserves.
They are softer but no less delicious the next day.
I had a great first group trail run--10 miles in the rain with two stream crossings. The herd mentality really helps motivate on bad weather days. Could there be a trail marathon in my future? Stay tuned.