Valentine’s Day has come and gone and I completely forgot to make one of my most requested cookies for this occasion—heart-shaped Linzer tart cookies. But no special occasion is needed to make these tasty treats. Round ones can be baked for any day, or egg-shaped ones for Easter. At Christmas I form the center cutout into a Christmas tree.
Linzer tart cookies are usually almond shortbread cookies filled with raspberry jam. Instead of almonds I used finely ground pecans, and rather than raspberry jam, I fill the centers with cherry preserves. It’s just another case of me tailoring a recipe to my own tastes. Valentine’s Day is all about the chocolate—well, maybe not just about the chocolate. Dip one end of the heart-shaped cookie in melted chocolate and sprinkle with nonpareils. If you like, wrap each one individually in cellophane bags and red bows and give them away, or place on a pretty platter and serve to guests. The cookie component can be made ahead and even frozen until you are ready to fill them.
Linzer Tart cookies
For cookie dough:
16 oz. pecans
1 cup cornstarch
6 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
5 ½ cups flour
In a food processor, pulse pecans and cornstarch until pecans are finely ground.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until blended, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, salt, and eggs. Slowly add flour and then the pecan mixture until fully blended. Divide into 6 balls. Flatten each ball into a disc on a piece of saran wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour or more if desired. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out cookie dough and cut out with cookie cutters, making equal amounts of tops and bottoms. The tops have the extra cutout. Bake about 17 minutes. The edges should just be starting to get golden. Cool on a wire rack. Spread cherry preserves on bottom half of cookie and place top half over the jam. When all are assembled, melt semi-sweet or dark chocolate in a double boiler or a microwave. Dip the pointed end of the heart into the chocolate. Sprinkle with nonpareils. Place on foil or wax paper. Leave to dry overnight. Sprinkle powdered sugar on cookie, avoiding the chocolate areas.
Yields about 40 cookies