Sunday, February 06, 2011

Almond Raspberry Linzer Cookies

My Judy started cooking yesterday. She made desserts for the church luncheon today. After she made the Texas Sheet Cake, it was time to make Linzer cookies.

Linz is the third largest city in Austria. Beautifully bifurcated by the Danube River, Linz was originally founded by the Romans. Later it served as a provincial city of the Holy Roman Emperor. With a current population of nearly 200,000, Linz is diametrically known for its steel and chemical industry as well as its endorsement of music and art. It is also the home of the beloved PEZ candy. Originally marketed in Vienna in 1927, PEZ candy and the even more famous PEZ dispensers are popular worldwide. Indeed, the dispensers have become a notable collector’s item.

On a more tasteful note, Linz is the reputed home of the renowned Linzertorte. A Linzertorte is a tart made of a rich buttery dough accentuated by almonds, lemon zest, and cinnamon. The tart is traditionally filled with black currant preserves and topped with a lattice crust. In America, raspberry has replaced black currant as the jam of choice.

The Linzertorte is one of the oldest known tarts with a recipe discovered in an Austrian abbey from 1653. Johann Konrad Vogel (1796-1883) is credited with first mass producing it while Franz Holzlhuber, an Austrian émigré who worked as a baker, is recognized for introducing it to America around 1856.

Linzer cookies employ the same recipe as the Linzertorte but instead the dough is cut into cookies and two of them form a sandwich around the preserves. Moreover, the top cookie has a small cutout in its center (known as Linzer eyes), thus exposing the underlying jam and adding to the visual appeal. While the traditional cutout is circular, all sorts of shapes, such as hearts, are also popular.

Judy did an excellent job in making these unique and historic cookies. They are yummy!!


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