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From Vienna's rich culinary heritage: The Linzer Cookie

One of the best known Austrian cookies is the Linzer cookie, developed from the famed Linzertorte, one of the oldest know cakes with a recipe discovered in an Austrian abbey in 1653.  As a side note, the first historic record of cookies was their use as test cakes. A small amount of cake batter was baked to test the oven temperature, hence the cookie was born.  Just like the Linzertorte’s crust, the Linzer cookie is made with ground almonds and spiced with lemon, orange, and cinnamon. Two cookies are sandwiched together and filled with a layer of currant jam, I like to use lingonberry since currant jam is hard to find in the US.  You can also use raspberry, when you do, mix a little fresh lemon juice into the jam.
Mix the "dry" parts:
320 grams flour
128 grams ground almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Mix the "wet' parts:
180-gram sugar
230-gram butter (make sure it is soft)
2 egg yolks (room temperature)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fold the "dry" parts into the "wet" parts and mix together.  Let sit for 2 hours or overnight.
Take a quarter of the dough, roll it out flat on a floured surface and cut cookie with your cookie cutter.  Use one cutter with a cut-out center, one without. Put cookies on baking sheet (use parchment paper so that cookies won't stick) and bake at 315 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Let cookies cool off. Spread jam on one side of the cookie, top each cookie with the halves with the cut-out center.  Sprinkle with a little bit of powdered sugar. Voila!  Ready to serve (or store in a tin box).
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Baking is easy!

Don't take what cookbooks say too seriously.  Most of the time, bakers like to make baking sound really complicated. But with a couple of simple tricks, baking gets quite easy.  There are three main lessons on baking my mother taught me, follow them and you are ready to go for pretty much any cookie.

1. Always use the best products.  If you use chocolate to make sure to get great quality.  Dark chocolate is always better to use for baking.
2. Mix the "wet" parts and the "dry" parts.  Always mix together butter, sugar, eggs, the "wet" parts. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and if needed, nuts together.  Then fold the "dry" parts into the "wet" parts.
3. Always, and I mean "ALWAYS", use butter when baking. Margarine just does not cut it!

And let's get started!  In my next posts, I will share with you how to make my delicious Linzer cookies based on a family recipe you won't find anywhere else.

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